Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors for Neglected Parasitic Diseases PDE4NPD

Lead identification and optimization, to develop novel drugs for neglected diseases


The PDE4NPD consortium aims to develop novel treatments for neglected parasitic diseases (NPDs), with a specific focus on four diseases that significantly contribute to the NPD medical burden: sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and schistosomiasis. The consortium brings together experts from throughout the world, from academia and from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

icon_Money €7.6 M

Funding: European Commission FP7

icon_world 10

partners European, African & South American


The Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors for Neglected Parasitic Diseases (PDE4NPD) drug discovery platform specifically targets parasitic phosphodiesterases (PDEs), enzymes that were previously shown to be essential for parasite survival. Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) make good drug targets because most of them have a unique architecture at the active site. Human PDEs have been widely studied as drug targets, and the experience and technologies from those studies are employed by the consortium to identify PDE inhibitors that specifically target parasite PDEs.

The program was operational early 2014 and covers the full range of activities from hit identification to lead optimization for clinical use.

Managing a worldwide consortium

TI Pharma – now part of Lygature – helped to drive project success from the beginning, managing the worldwide consortium of 10 partners. From January 2016, a broad range of resources and support are provided under the Lygature brand and include:

  • Program management and leadership. Lygature is responsible for management of the program office where organizational aspects of the program as a whole are coordinated. In addition, Lygature coordinates the consortium meetings and all communication and dissemination efforts, both within the project and to the outside world.
  • Coordination of sustainability discussions. Lygature coordinates development of an Open Innovation Platform that will assure sustainability and data sharing.
  • Communications. Other contributions include brand building of PDE4NPD from the ground up; communicating project results and disseminating (scientific) articles; and providing a custom-built secure communications platform for internal use.

The worldwide PDE4NPD consortium has required extensive expertise in both management and communication. It is an important example of the Lygature mission to bring together partners with complementary areas of expertise to jointly fight neglected diseases.

Lygature together with

Project updates

  • PDE4NPD delivers valuable drug discovery platform for neglected parasitic diseases

    Image: PDE4NPD Researchers at the project’s Final Meeting in Amsterdam on 7 February

    The four-year PDE4NPD (PhosphoDiEsterases for Neglected Parasitic Diseaseas) project will formally end this week. “I am happy to conclude that we have delivered promising lead candidates and a valuable drug discovery platform for neglected parasitic diseases,” said Principal Investigator Rob Leurs (VU Amsterdam).

  • PDE4NPD researcher wins BSP poster prize

    Seven Poster Prizes were awarded at this year's BSP meeting in Dundee.  Titilola Kalejaiye won the best student poster prize of £100 for her poster "Evaluation of phosphodiesterase as potential drug targets in Trypanosoma cruzi."

  • PDE4NPD and the European Lead Factory team up: parasite PDE up for ultra-HTS against 450,000 compounds

    With help of the European Lead Factory, the PDE4NPD project takes the next step towards developing novel drugs against kinetoplastid parasites such as Trypanosoma brucei, the causative parasite of African sleeping sickness, and Trypanosoma cruzi, causing Chagas disease. Together, PDE4NPD and the EU Lead Factory will screen 450,000 compounds for their potential to inhibit one of the parasite PDEs the project has validated.