State-of-the-art laboratory to study new antimalarials opens in Jakarta

State-of-the-art laboratory to study new antimalarials opens in Jakarta

Last week, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Dr Ratna Sitompul, officially opened a new Laboratory of Pharmacokinetics. Supported by MMV and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the new lab is equipped and staffed to conduct pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK1/PD2) analysis of future antimalarials being trialled in the region.

Indonesia’s 5,000 km long archipelago hosts 230 million people, and several million annual cases of malaria caused by all five species that infect humans. Progress to tackle the deadly disease in the area is hampered by a lack of capacity to conduct clinical trials of antimalarials. The new lab provides a step towards developing that capacity.

Drawing upon the technical, financial, and administrative support and expertise of MMV, Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit and ALERTAsia Foundation, the new lab can now conduct PK/PD studies using state-of-the-art chemistry, liquid chromatography and supporting equipment. One of the scientists from the new lab also received training at Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit in Bangkok, helping to foster collaboration between these centres of excellence in Southeast Asia.

 “One of the key ways to expand capacity to conduct pivotal trials of antimalarial drugs is the capability to conduct PK/PD assessments,” said Dr Sitompul.

“Strongly supported by MMV and the UK government, the new PK lab can now open its doors to support clinical trials of globally important antimalarial medicines, in Indonesia,” said Prof. Rianto Setiabudy, Director of the Laboratory of Pharmacokinetics.

“MMV is proud to have been involved in establishing the new laboratory at the University of Indonesia,” said Dr Timothy Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. “It’s an important step towards building scientific capacity in the region and developing next-generation medicines to cure relapsing malaria, which takes a heavy toll in Southeast Asia.”

1. Pharmacokinetics (PK): what the body does to the drug, which determines where and when the drug will have its effect, for how long and at what level of intensity.

2. Pharmacodynamics (PD): what the drug does to the body, which determines how the drug behaves and exerts its therapeutic effect.