To develop next-generation antimalarial treatment in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Novartis is expanding its long-standing partnership with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) for the development of antimalarial treatments.
Under the new agreement the Swiss pharmaceutical firm will lead the development of antimalarial compound KAF156 with scientific and financial support from MMV in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis, said such partnerships and collaborations 'are essential for the development of next-generation antimalarials and accelerating efforts to eradicate this deadly disease'.
KAF156 is one of the first antimalarial drug candidates to enter Phase IIb clinical development in more than 20 years. It acts against the two parasites responsible for the majority of malaria deaths (Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax) and against both the blood and liver stages of the parasite’s lifecycle. Further, it has the potential to provide a more convenient dosing regimen and to address the multidrug resistance that has emerged in five countries of the Great Mekong Sub-region (GMS). The GMS countries include Cambodia, the People's Republic of China (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
This agreement marks an important milestone as MMV continues its mission to discover, develop and deliver new, effective and affordable antimalarials
KAF156 builds on Novartis's heritage in antimalarial drug development and the launch in 1999 of Coartem, the first fixed-dose Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT). ACT is the current standard of care in malaria treatment.
'We are delighted to extend our partnership with Novartis in the development of this exciting candidate antimalarial medicine with the potential to tackle drug resistance and improve patient compliance,' said Dr David Reddy, CEO of MMV.
'As such, this agreement marks an important milestone, as MMV continues its mission to discover, develop and deliver new, effective and affordable antimalarials to the patients who need them most.'
Over the past 15 years, the Novartis Malaria Initiative has delivered more than 750 million treatments without profit, including 300 million dispersible paediatric treatments, developed by Novartis in collaboration with MMV, mostly to the public sector of malaria-endemic countries. Although preventable and treatable, malaria continues to kill a child every two minutes and threatens the lives of many more.