Partner interviews

New partners in the development of new medicines for malaria

Masahiko Koike, Director, Pharmaceutical Technology R&D Laboratories, Takeda

Takeda recognized the urgent need to contribute to research in the field of infectious diseases, such as malaria. Masahiko Koike explains how the company is contributing to two exciting antimalarial drug projects and what it’s like to work with MMV. (2014)

New tools to accelerate drug development

Prof. James McCarthy, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Berghofer Medical Research Institute

To help expedite the development of promising compounds, MMV is employing innovative new tools. Prof. James McCarthy explains how the Challenge Model is helping to accelerate antimalarial drug development. (2014)

Dr Robert Wenslow & Alex Chen, Crystal Pharmatech

Goodwill can be contagious

Dr Robert Wenslow, VP Business Development & Alex Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Crystal Pharmatech

Crystal Pharmatech, a Contract Research Organisation based in China, offer their expertise to MMV at a “not-for-profit” price. Dr Robert Wenslow, and Alex Chen explain why they work with MMV and what they have to offer. (2014)

Drug discovery with a difference

Dr Mat Todd, University of Sydney, Australia

In 2011, MMV launched an Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) programme. The programme differs from traditional drug discovery, as all research is reported openly, online and in real-time, allowing the best and the brightest to contribute. Dr Mat Todd, University of Sydney, leads one of these projects. He explains how it works and what the future might hold for open science. (2013)

OSDD powering the pipeline and changing the paradigm

Dr Tanjore Balganesh, Project Head at India's OSDD Initiative

MMV is working closely with India’s Open Source Drug Discovery malaria programme to investigate the most promising compound series, initially for blood-stage malaria. Dr Tanjore Balganesh explains how open source research is taking off in India. (2013)

A helping hand from the lab to the clinic

Dr Kennan Marsh, Director, Experimental Sciences, AbbVie Inc. USA

AbbVie, a research-based biopharmaceutical company, has been providing pro bono drug discovery resources and expertise to MMV since 2011. Dr Kennan Marsh, the interface between MMV and AbbVie, talks about the collaboration, compounds and the motivation to get involved. (2013)

Treating children suffering from malaria

Dr Jane Achan, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

With the exception of Coartem® Dispersible, few antimalarial medicines have been specifically formulated for children. Dr Jane Achan explains the needs on the ground for doctors treating children suffering from malaria. (2012)

Populating the pipeline

Prof. Kelly Chibale, Cape Town Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D), South Africa

With our sights firmly set on malaria elimination/ eradication, MMV’s discovery work is focused on the need for novel medicines to treat relapsing malaria and block transmission. Prof. Chibale talks about his work to discover and optimize new compounds to help populate MMV’s antimalarial drug pipeline. (2012)

Protecting pregnant women and their babies

Dr Elizabeth Juma, National Malaria Control Programme, Kenya

Pregnancy lowers a woman’s immune response to infections and so she is four-times more likely to get malaria and twice as likely to die from it than another adult. Dr Elizabeth Juma explains the Kenya's approach to protecting pregnant women from malaria. (2012)

Scaling up an improved treatment for severe malaria

Prof. Olugbenga A Mokuolu, Centre for International Education, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

In 2011 the WHO revised its Standard Treatment Guidelines to recommend artesunate injection as the preferred treatment for severe malaria. Prof. Olugbenga A Mokuolu explains how the guideline change was made in Nigeria and what impact it has had. (2012)

Preventing stock-outs: SMS for Life

Mr Winna Shango, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania

SMS for Life uses widely available SMS technology to record antimalarial stock levels at the point-of-care. Mr Winna Shango tells us how this programme is motivating health-care workers in Tanzania. (2012)

From procurement to patients

Mrs Esnet Mwape, Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority, Zambia

ACTs are currently the best medicines available to treat uncomplicated malaria but unfortunately many patients lack access to them. Ms Esnet Mwape explains how the medicinal products coming into Zambia are now better regulated. (2012)

Blocking transmission

Prof. Vicky Avery, Griffith University, Australia

In an infected patient a small proportion of parasites form gametocytes, the sexual form of the parasite. It is these gametocytes, taken up by the mosquito when she feeds, that ultimately allow the parasite to infect the next person. Prof. Vicky Avery talks about her work to develop a new late-stage gametocyte assay to identify compounds that could block the transmission of malaria. (2012)

Researching relapsing P. vivax malaria

Colonel Bagus Tjahjono, Indonesian Army Health Command, Jakarta

Although primaquine is the only approved medicine for radical cure of relapsing malaria, very little is known about how well it works in combination with other medicines that treat the blood-stage infection. Colonel Bagus Tjahjono explains the need for further research on relapsing P. vivax malaria and its treatment. (2012)

Stopping the relapse

Dr Alejandro Llanos, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru

The dormant liverstage form of P. vivax, which can reactivate without warning leading to the feverish symptoms of malaria, remains a challenge to treat. Dr Alejandro Llanos talks about why there is a need for new medicines to treat relapsing malaria in Peru. (2012)

Bringing all the right ingredients together

Sigma-Tau, Italy

In 2011 Eurartesim® was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – the first new European antimalarial medicine for over a decade. This is a huge achievement, and takes the medicine a step closer to the patients that so sorely need it. (2011)

Guiding the development of transmission-blocking medicines

Prof. Robert Sinden, Imperial College, London, UK

Current medicines mostly kill the malaria parasite at the blood stage, but to eradicate malaria, we need to stop the parasite being passed on to the next person via mosquitos. Imperial College London has been working with MMV to turn basic biology into knowledge to underpin the development of new antimalarials. (2011)

Feeding the drug development pipeline through the discovery of novel chemistry

Dr Thierry Diagana, Novartis Institue for Tropical Diseases, Singapore

NITD is working in close collaboration with MMV to explore new drug discovery approaches for malaria. NITD609, if proven to be well tolerated, will be the first antimalarial not belonging to either the artemisinin or peroxide class to enter clinical efficacy studies in recent years. (2011)

DHODH: Academic brain meets industrial muscle

Dr Meg Phillips, University of Texas Southwestern, USA

The enzyme DHODH is one the hottest malaria drug targets under investigation today. This project was awarded MMV’s 2010 Project of the Year in recognition of its impressive progress to rapidly bring these inhibitors towards clinical testing. (2011)

The world’s first producer of WHO prequalified artesunate for injection for severe malaria

Guilin Pharmaceutical, China

Guilin Pharmaceutical has been producing intravenous (IV) artesunate for patients with severe malaria since 1987. But without WHO prequalification or stringent regulatory approval, it could not be purchased by international organizations or donor funds. (2011)

Analyzing the antimalarials market

Nettie Dzabala, College of Medicine, Malawi

The College of Medicine is an academic centre of excellence, responsive to the health needs of Malawi by training professionals, providing clinical services and medical research. MMV worked with the college to analyze the antimalarial medicines market in six districts. (2011)

OZ439: A winning network of partners

Prof. Jonathan Vennerstrom, Prof. Susan Charman & Dr Sergio Wittlin

The success of the OZ439 project can be attributed to the commitment, enthusiasm and range of scientific expertise of its partners from across the globe. Today, OZ439 is on track to potentially replace artemisinin and become a part of the much-needed one-dose cure for malaria. (2011)

A long-standing collaboration

Shin Poong Pharmaceutical, South Korea

MMV and Shin Poong have worked together since 1999 to develop Pyramax®. This new once daily, 3-day treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum and blood stage P. vivax malaria in infants, children and adults is awaiting regulatory approval by the European Medicines Agency. (2010)

Overcoming the challenges of conducting clinical trials in India

Dr Neena Valecha, The National Institute of Malaria Research, India

NIMR is India’s premier malaria research institute, carrying out studies on drug resistance, and Phase II/ III trials of new drugs. Conducting clinical trials in India is a challenge but MMV and NIMR have had a successful partnership. (2010)

Delivering good, affordable drugs to those in need

Prof. Bruno Gryseels & Prof. Umberto D’Alessandro, ITM, Belgium

ITM provides postgraduate training for medical doctors and paramedics – a number of whom are headed for central Africa. Collaboration between MMV and ITM focuses on the development and trial of new antimalarials. (2010)