Global plan for artemisinin resistance containment (GPARC)

MMV welcomes call to action for all members of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership

11 Jan 2011

MMV statement for GPARC launch

"On behalf of MMV I would like to commend the WHO Global Malaria Programme for the timely publication of GPARC.

Since news emerged in 2007-2008 of possible parasite resistance to artemisinin, the malaria community recognized the dangers inherent in this likelihood. A plan to protect artemisinin and contain resistance to this effective class of drugs became an urgent public health priority.

As the report states: ‘There is a finite window of opportunity to contain artemisinin resistance before it spreads. If the current foci of artemisinin-resistant parasites are not contained or eliminated, the costs, both human and financial, could be great’.

We, at Medicines for Malaria Venture, are fully aligned with GPARC and the plan to contain artemisinin resistance. We recognize the urgent need to block transmission of artemisinin resistant parasites, push for better access to diagnostics and ACTs, and continually monitor their therapeutic efficacy.

Given that artemisinin resistance puts more pressure on the companion drug, MMV and our partners have increased the range of ACTs available to the malaria treatment community, by launching a pediatric formulation and supporting the registration of an iv formulation for the management of severe infection. We also have two new ACTs being launched in 2011.

In addition, we have contributed to the design of the AMFm that will ensure the affordability of ACTs to the most vulnerable, and are working with national policy makers to advocate for better access to ACTs and diagnostics.

MMV has a large portfolio of discovery projects to ensure that if the unthinkable happens, and artemisinin resistance does spread, the malaria medicine chest will not be empty.

The endoperoxide OZ439 started phase IIa studies - first time in patients - in Thailand at the end of 2010. It has a similar mechanism of action as artemisinin, but is chemically very different, and so is likely to work against resistant parasites.

At the discovery end of our portfolio, after screening over 5 million compounds in collaboration with our pharma and academic partners, we have identified 20,000 promising molecules that could be alternatives to artemisinin. Of these, NITD609, a novel, synthetic molecule belonging to the spiroindolone class has shown exciting antimalarial potential, and has started phase I studies - first in human - at the end of last year.

In summary, only a globally integrated effort will keep resistance at bay, and we at MMV are committed to fulfilling our part of that effort."

David Reddy, CEO, MMV