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Zydus ties up with Medicines for Malaria Venture to co-develop antimalarial drug

Business Standard:  September 30, 2016

New Delhi: The Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila will tie-up with Medicines for Malaria Ventures (MMV) to develop the investigational antimalarial compound, MMV674253, which was discovered by MMV in collaboration with AstraZeneca, India. Zydus will lead the development of the novel compound, with MMV providing support including scientific expertise and access to tools in the field of malaria drug development & delivery.

The aim of the collaboration is to provide an effective alternative to the current front-line antimalarial drugs for the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), which are under threat of resistance.

Dr Timothy Wells, chief scientific officer, MMV, commented, “We discovered this promising candidate in collaboration with AstraZeneca, India, and look forward to co-developing the compound with Zydus. Given the imminent threat of resistance, this novel compound, which kills parasites rapidly with a novel mechanism of action, could be one of the critical alternatives to current therapies the world urgently needs if we are to ultimately defect malaria."

As per the WHO estimate, 214 million malaria cases and 438,000 malaria deaths occurred worldwide in 2015. The scale-up of control measures, including medicines, has saved the lives of more than six million people since 2000.

Yet the rapid development and spread of antimalarial drug resistance threatens this global progress. To date, parasite resistance to artemisinin has been detected in five Asian countries - Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. According to WHO, the spread or independent emergence of artemisinin resistance in other parts of the world could pose a major health security risk as no alternative antimalarial medicine is available at present with the same level of efficacy and tolerability as ACTs.

“Malaria is a major global health risk and its menace has only worsened with the problem of artemisinin-resistance. By collaborating with Medicines for Malaria Venture in this initiative, we hope to usher in a step change in the treatment of this deadly disease. This molecule has a novel mechanism of action, rapidly kills parasites across all intra-erythrocytic stages and has a long half-life, which means it might even lead to a single-dose cure for P. falciparum malaria," said Pankaj Patel, chairman and managing director, Zydus Group.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.