20 years of MMV women in R&D
Anna Thomas, Nicole Andenmatten, Fiona Macintyre, Nada Abla Geiser, Helen Demarest, Isabelle Borghini-Fuhrer, Alice Neequaye, Wiweka Kaszubska, Mélanie Rouiller, Antonia Wolff, Cristina Donini, Aline Fuchs
This month, in celebration of International Women’s Day, MMV women in R&D discuss childhood heroines, progress that has been made for women in science over the course of their careers and inspiring young women to follow a science path.
20 Years of drug discovery
Dr Didier Leroy, Senior Director, Drug Discovery, MMV & Dr Brice Campo, Director, Drug Discovery, MMV
As our 20th anniversary nears, two MMV drug discovery scientists discuss advancements that have been made and the challenges that lie ahead in the discovery of antimalarial medicines.
Overcoming challenges to tackle malaria relapse
Prof. Alejandro Llanos-Cuentas, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Prof. Llanos, one of the principal investigators for the Phase III trials of tafenoquine in Peru, explains the challenges in treating malaria and how tafenoquine could help.
New tools to identify optimal drug combinations
Dr Nicole Andenmatten, Project Manager, Translational Science, MMV
MMV and partners have developed and implemented a series of platforms to gather data to feed into a tool that enables everycompound pair to be compared in a similar manner. This allows unbiased prioritization of optimal drug combinations for further research. Dr Nicole Andenmatten explains how new tools are being employed to determine which drug combinations should progress further.
New molecule to protect vulnerable and migratory populations
Dr Alfred Tonelli, Head of External Innovation, Johnson and Johnson Global Public Health
MMV is working with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to develop long-acting injectable chemoprotective medicines that could be administered monthly or even less frequently. Dr Alfred Tonelli talks about chemoprotection and the development plan for P218.
Novel assays to identify anti-relapse compounds
Dr Steve Maher, Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia, USA
New treatments for malaria relapse prevention without the G6PD liability are urgently needed. The development and use of novel assays to identify next-generation anti-relapse compounds is ongoing at several sites. Dr Steve Maher tells us about his work on a new high throughput assay.
Preventing malaria relapse with a single-dose treatment
Anna Thomas, Senior Director, Regulatory Lead, MMV and Robert Stocken, Director and Global, Regulatory Lead, GSK
Tafenoquine is a potential new single-dose cure to prevent the relapse of P. vivax malaria. Anna and Robert discuss the potential impact of tafenoquine in the management of P. vivax malaria, and explain the next steps for achieving regulatory approval and country registration.
M5717 (formerly DDD498)
Dr Jutta Reinhard-Rupp, Head of Merck Global Health Institute, Merck Group
M5717 is a compound with a novel mechanism of action, targeting the protein-making machinery of the malaria parasite. Dr Jutta Reinhard-Rupp talks about the vision of the Merck Global Health Institute, its partnership with MMV, and how volunteer infection studies (VIS) are contributing to the clinical evaluation of M5717.
Dr Jörg Möhrle, Vice President, Head of Translational Medicine, MMV
DSM265 is one of the new generation of novel antimalarials and has the potential to both treat patients and protect healthy people with a reduced dosing schedule. Dr Jörg Möhrle talks about the potential of DSM265 and its role in validating the sporozoite volunteer infection study platform.
Dr Charles Wells, Head of Development/Associate Vice President, Infectious Diseases Therapeutic Area, Sanofi, USA
The combination of artefenomel and ferroquine has the potential to become the first of a new generation of antimalarials not based on artemisinin and therefore an important tool in the context of drug resistance. MMV and Sanofi are currently conducting a phase IIb programme to determine the safety and efficacy of the combination as a single-dose cure. Dr Charles Wells talks about the potential of artefenomel/FQ as a next-generation drug combination.
David Hughes, Senior Global Program Head, Anti-infectives, Novartis Pharma
KAF156 is the first compound to progress into clinical development from the novel imidazolopiperazine class of antimalarial molecules. A key strength of the drug is its potential to both treat and prevent malaria, including resistant strains. David Hughes talks about the benefits of the KAF156/lumefantrine combination and how it could help malaria-endemic countries move towards malaria elimination.
Improving malaria treatment during pregnancy
Dr Rukhsana Ahmed, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Clinical Epidemiology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK
MMV is supporting a study in Indonesia to gather significantly more data – retrospectively and prospectively – on the safety of DHA-PQP during all trimesters of pregnancy. Dr Rukhsana Ahmed talks about her experience of working on this important research.
Using biology to help guide the search for new molecules
Dr Didier Leroy, Senior Director, Drug Discovery, MMV and Dr Alain Pellet, Pharmaceutical Chemistry Team Leader, Sanofi
The discovery team led by Dr Alain Pellet at Sanofi and Dr Didier Leroy at MMV receives MMV’s 2017 Project of the Year award for the identification and development of SAR441121. Alain and Didier talk about the partnership and the exciting features of this antimalarial compound.
Looking back and forward to the discovery of new antimalarials
Dr David P. Jacobus, President of Jacobus Pharmaceutical
Dr Jacobus has had a notable career in the field of research spanning more than 60 years. He shares his experience and observations on antimalarial drug discovery.
Pushing the boundaries of biology
Dr Brice Campo, Director, Drug Discovery, MMV and Mélanie Rouillier, Senior Project Coordinator, Drug Discovery, MMV
Three discovery teams jointly received the MMV Project of the Year 2016 award for their progress in developing new assay platforms to test compounds for activity against the liver stages of malaria. Brice and Melanie explain why this work is award winning, the challenges they encounter and where it will go from here.
The Pathogen Box - open and collaborative research is the way forward
Dr Fidelis Cho-Ngwa University of Buea, Cameroon, Pathogen Box and challenge grant recipient
Dr Fidelis Cho-Ngwa explains the challenges of his research and how the Pathogen Box and grant are helping to overcome them.
Seeding drug discovery with open initiatives
Dr Benoît Laleu, Associate Director, Drug Discovery, MMV
Through open source research initiatives MMV aims to not only provide access to compounds but also create an open and collaborative forum for researchers. Dr Benoît Laleu explains the progress of research spurred by these initiatives as well as the key learnings.
New candidate UCT 943
Dr Tanya Paquet, Project Lead at, University of Cape Town
From the same chemical family as MMV048, UCT943 has shown impressive potency and solubility in the preclinical setting. Dr Tanya Paquet tells us how the two compounds compare and talks about the next steps for UCT943.
Tafenoquine - a potential medicine to prevent P. vivax relapse
Dr Justin Green, Director, Clinical Development, GlaxoSmithKline
Tafenoquine is an investigational medicine that has completed phase III studies. Dr Justin Green explains how the work is gathering pace.
Aiming to stop relapsing malaria with a single-dose treatment
Dr Marcus Lacerda, Tropical Medicine Foundation, Dr Heitor Vieira Dourado/Fiocruz, Brazil
Tafenoquine is an investigational medicine that has completed phase III studies. Dr Marcus Lacerda talks about managing malaria in the Amazon and how tafenoquine, if approved, could help.
Prof. Alejandro Llanos-Cuentas, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
DSM265 has the potential to both treat and protect against malaria in a single dose. Prof. Alejandro Llanos-Cuentas talks about the trial, the challenges of managing malaria in Peru and how DSM265 could help address them.
KAF156 plus lumefantrine
David Hughes, Senior Global Program Head, Novartis
KAF156 belongs to a novel class of antimalarial molecules, the imidazolopiperazines, and in phase IIa trials was able to rapidlyclear both P. falciparum and P. vivax parasites. David Hughes talks of the promise that KAF156 holds as a future antimalarial, as well as the path ahead to help realize that promise.
Artefenomel (OZ439) plus ferroquine
Dr Laurent Fraisse, Vice President, Infectious Diseases R&D, Sanofi
Artefenomel, a novel trioxolane, is a front-runner candidate for inclusion in a new antimalarial combination with ferroquine. Dr Laurent Fraisse talks about the added value of the combination as well as the advantage of working with MMV.
Dr. Cristina Donini, Senior Director, Translational Medicine, MMV
MMV048 is a novel antimalarial compound from the aminopyridine class, with important activity across the entire parasite lifecycle. Dr Cristina Donini explains her vision for MMV048, as well as the importance of getting the formulation right and building clinical trial capacity in Ethiopia.
The controlled human malaria infection model
Dr Katharine Collins QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia
In recent years, the controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) model has become a very valuable tool for accelerating the evaluation of promising new drugs. Dr Katharine Collins explains how volunteer safety is assured and how the model has been adapted to exploretransmission-blocking activity.
Treatment and prevention of P. vivax in Indonesia
Professor Kevin Baird, Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit (EOCRU), Jakarta, Indonesia
The Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit (EOCRU) develops clinical trial models for clinical interventions for preventing and treating malaria. Prof Kevin Baird speaks about the challenges of delivering healthcare in Indonesia.
DHODH - Project of the Year
Dr Ian Bathurst, MMV Project Director
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. Dr Ian Bathurst speaks about the project.
MMV390048 - Project of the Year
Professor Kelly Chibale, Founder and Director of the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D)
A novel antimalarial compound from the aminopyridine class, MMV390048, becomes the first researched in Africa to enter preclinical development. Kelly Chibale, Project Leader of the UCT team speaks about the compound and the collaboration with MMV.
MMV Project of the Year award 2013 - Tafenoquine
Dr JP Kleim, Project Leader, GlaxoSmithKline, UK
Thanks to the success of the Phase IIB trial, tafenoquine entered Phase III in April 2014, taking it closer to becoming the only new medicine approved for the treatment of relapsing malaria in over 60 years. Project Leader, Dr JP Kleim speaks about the partnership and what the future holds.
GSK692 - a novel compound steadfast in the face of resistance
Dr Paul Willis, Director of Drug Discovery, MMV, and Dr Laura Sanz, Tres Cantos Medicine Development Campus, GlaxoSmithKline
The GSK692 project team was awarded MMV's 2015 Project of the Year. Dr Paul Willis and Dr Laura Sanz talk about the award, the compound, and the collaboration.
New models to discover new molecules active against the dormant liver stage of P. vivax malaria
Prof. Dennis Kyle, Distinguished University Health Professor, University of South Florida, USA
Following on from the work of a team at Mahidol University, a second team of researchers was able to establish a P. vivax ‘hypnozoite’ cell-based in vitro assay. Prof. Dennis Kyle explains the progress, the advantages of their assay and what it’s been like working with the Consortium.
New models to discover new molecules against the relapse
Dr Jetsumon Sattabongkot Prachumsri, Head of the Mahidol Vivax Research Unit, Thailand
In 2014, a team of researchers from Mahidol University, Thailand, was able to establish a P. vivax ‘hypnozoite’ cell-based in vitro assay to screen up to 1,000 compounds a year. Dr Jetsumon Sattabongkot Prachumsri talks about the assay, what it has told us so far and what it’s like to work with the Consortium.
Open access initiatives to catalyse drug discovery
Dr Fabrice Boyom, Researcher, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon
Dr Fabrice Boyom is investigating natural products for the treatment of human, animal, and/or plant diseases. To help fuel his research he received MMV’s Open Access Malaria Box, a Malaria Box Challenge Grant and recently the Pathogen Box. Dr Boyom explains how he and his team have been using these resources.
Opening up malaria drug discovery
Dr Jeremy Burrows,VP, Head of Drug Discovery, MMV
To make the discovery and progression of exciting compounds more efficient and cost effective, MMV has new, more open and collaborative ways of working. Dr Jeremy Burrows explains MMV's open approach to drug discovery.
Tafenoquine - aiming to stop relapsing malaria
Dr Wiweka Kaszubska, VP Product Development, MMV, and Dr JP Kleim, Project Leader, GSK
Tafenoquine is an investigational medicine in phase III development. If approved, it would be the first new medicine to cure relapsing malaria in over 60 years. Dr Wiweka Kaszubska and Dr JP Kleim provide an update on the phase III programme.
Getting the formulation right
Dr Elizabeth Vadas, InSciTech Inc, Canada
It is critical to get the formulation of a new drug right to ensure it is easy to administer and store, acceptable to the target patient population, delivers the correct dosage, and has the desired effect when administered. Dr Elizabeth Vadas describes the challenges of drug formulation and explains how and why she has been assisting the project teams at MMV.
A big year for DDD498
Dr Beatrice Greco, Head of the Malaria & Diagnostics Innovation Cluster, Merck S.A.
It was a big year for DDD498. Merck's Beatrice Greco explains what's exciting about the molecule as well as the next steps.
Potential to make a huge difference to the lives of populations suffering from malaria: DSM265
Robert Arch, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Japan
In 2015, the molecule successfully demonstrated safety and efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum in a phase IIa trial in malaria patients in Peru. Robert Arch explains the molecule’s exciting potential and next steps.
Artefenomel - a novel trioxolane
Dr Marc Adamy, Project Leader, MMV
Artefenomel, a novel trioxolane, is a lead candidate for inclusion in a new antimalarial combination with a simpler dosing regimen, specifically formulated for children. Project Leader at MMV, Dr Marc Adamy describes the potential of this compound, its current status and future plans.
Developing new drugs for malaria
Interview: Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer, MMV
Tim Wells, MMV's Chief Scientific Officer discusses the development of new drugs for malaria, and the ultimate goal of eradicating the disease.
Screening and the Malaria Box
Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer, MMV
Tim speaks about how the fruits of a huge malaria screening campaign are also being utilised more broadly for infectious disease drug discovery.
Malaria Community - Nick White
Professor Nick White, Mahidol University
MMV interview series. Speaking with members of the malaria community.
MMV at the World Conference of Science Journalists
Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer, MMV
Dr Tim Wells speaks about MMV at The World Conference of Science Journalists, the Middle East and malaria.
Momentum builds for neglected diseases drug discovery
Dr Charlie Mowbray, DNDi, Dr David Waterson, MMV, and Dr Takushi Kaneko, TB Alliance
Experts from DNDi, MMV and TB Alliance speak about progress in R&D
Dr Martin Casapia Asociación Civil Selva Amazónica (ACSA), Iquitos, Peru
DSM265 is a triazolopyrimidine-based highly selective inhibitor of Plasmodium’s dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), a key enzyme for the parasite’s survival. Dr Martin Casapia Asociación Civil Selva Amazónica (ACSA), Iquitos, Peru; Co-Investigator for the DSM265 phase IIa trial tells us more about this promising compound.
One molecule: multiple lifecycle stages - MMV's perspective
Dr Paul Willis, Director, Drug Discovery & Dr Lidiya Bebrevska, Associate Director, Translational Medicine, MMV
DDD498 has potent activity against multiple stages of the malaria parasite’s lifecycle, giving it the potential to cure and stop the spread of the disease as well as protect people, all in a single-exposure. Dr Paul Willis and Dr Lidiya Bebrevska discuss recent progress and next steps.
One molecule: multiple lifecycle stages - Universtiy of Dundee's perspective
Prof. Ian Gilbert, Head of Chemistry & Dr Kevin Read, Head of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, University of Dundee, UK
DDD498 has potent activity against multiple stages of the malaria parasite’s lifecycle, giving it the potential to cure and stop the spread of the disease as well as protect people, all in a single-exposure. Prof. Ian Gilbert and Dr Kevin Read explain how the discovery was made and their experience of working with MMV.
Discovering new molecules to prevent relapse
Dr Jetsumon Sattabongkot Head of the Mahidol Vivax Research Unit
A team of researchers from Mahidol University, Thailand, has developed a P. vivax ‘hypnozoite’ cell-based in vitro assay able to screen up to 150 compounds a year. Dr Jetsumon Sattabongkot explains how the assay works, what it reveals and what lies ahead.
Dr Didier Ménard, Head, Malaria Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Institut Pasteur, Cambodia
Dr Didier Ménard and his team have developed an in vitro assay to enable in-development antimalarials to be tested against the most resistant strains of parasite we know of today. Building on this work the team was also able to identify a molecular marker to identify artemisinin-resistant parasites, which is now being used to map artemisinin resistance globally. He explains why drug resistance is such a problem, how the assay works and what it has told us so far.
Identifying new transmission-blocking agents
Dr Janneth Rodrigues, Insectary Supervisor at GSK-Tres Cantos
Several of the molecules progressing through clinical development and translational research have demonstrated that they can kill the sexual stages or the gametocytes in vitro. Dr Janneth Rodrigues explains how a Standard Membrane Feeding Assay has shown that many of these molecules also have the potential to block the transmission of malaria in the laboratory.
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.
Protecting pregnant women
Matthew Chico, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Matthew Chico from LSHTM talks about why DHA-PQP (specifically, Eurartesim®, developed by Sigma-Tau and MMV) was chosen for this study and when the results are expected.
Dr Phumla Sinxadi, Clinical Pharmacologist at UCT & Prof. Karen Barnes, Clinical Pharmacologist at UCT
MMV048 is a novel antimalarial compound from the aminopyridine class, and the first new medicine to be discovered by an African-led team. Dr Phumla Sinxadi explains how MMV048 is progressing and Prof. Karen Barnes describes why the compound and development programme are unique.
A Single-exposure cure
Rita Merino, Project Leader, Sanofi
OZ439 is in phase IIb combination studies with piperaquine (PQP) as a single-exposure cure in partnership with Sanofi. Rita Merino, OZ439/ 4-aminoquinoline Project Leader at Sanofi, explains the challenges in the development of this next generation medicine and what it’s like to work with MMV.
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.
Alternative malaria medicines
Dr Isabelle Borghini-Fuhrer Director, Product Development, MMV
Isabelle explains to International Innovation how MMV and partners are working to develop Pyramax®, a combination treatment of two antimalarial drugs that is soon to be launched in several malaria-endemic countries as a new therapy.
Dr Didier Leroy, Director, Drug Discovery, MMV
To reduce the overall burden of malaria we need to be able to stop transmission from person-to-person. Dr Didier Leroy explains the test cascade, developed by MMV and partners, to identify new and in-development molecules with transmission blocking activity.
Discovering new molecules to target the relapse
Prof Sangeeta Bhatia, Director, Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, MIT
A team led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has taken a major step towards developing a cost-effective P. vivax cell assay, by developing a system to grow liver tissue that can support the liver stage of both Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria. Prof Sangeeta Bhatia explains her interest in this area of research and how the system works.
Relapsing Plasmodium vivax
Prof Ric Price, Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University; and the Centre for Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford
Relapsing Plasmodium vivax malaria results in around 70–80 million clinical infections each year. Prof Ric Price discusses why P. vivax should be a research priority and what tools are needed in order to eradicate it.