A novel antimalarial compound from the aminopyridine class, MMV390048, was awarded MMV's Project of the Year. Dr Cristina Donini took over as Project Director in July 2012, when the compound was selected as a candidate. She tells us what's next for this compound.
1. What is exciting about MMV390048?
MMV390048 is potent against the blood stage of malaria – it can completely cure animal models of malaria in a single dose. This result is outstanding and noteworthy since drugs such as the artemisinins and chloroquine do not achieve this. It suggests MMV390048 could become part of a single-dose cure in humans.
Moreover, the compound also has activity against other stages of the lifecycle and all known resistant strains of the parasite, suggesting a role in malaria control, transmission blocking and eradication.
2. What are the next steps in developing the molecule?
The preclinical work is underway. This includes manufacturing more compounds, assessing the stability of the solid drug and regulatory safety studies. So far, MMV390048 appears well tolerated and promises real clinical benefit, although more definitive data is required. Planning for success, the next step will be a Phase I trial in healthy volunteers expected to start in 2014 in South Africa.