Prof Jonathan Vennerstrom receives prestigious ACS Award for Creative Invention

Inventor of MMV compounds OZ277 and OZ439 honoured at ACS national meeting

24 Apr 2019

MMV’s long-standing research partner Prof Jonathan L. Vennerstrom was presented with the American Society Award for Creative Invention “for the identification of an antimalarial synthetic trioxolane drug development candidate”. Named 2019 honoree of the ACS Award for Creative Invention in October 2018, he recently received the award at the spring ACS national meeting 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Medicinal chemist Prof Vennerstrom is currently professor of pharmaceutical science at the College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center. With support from MMV since 2001, he led an international antimalarial drug discovery program with his team at UNMC, Monash University, and the Swiss TPH – a hugely successful effort that discovered the antimalarial candidates OZ277 in 2003 and OZ439 in 2007.

 “We are delighted to hear that Professor Vennerstrom has been honoured for his role in the discovery of the potent antimalarial synthetic trioxolane compounds OZ277 and OZ439,” said Dr Timothy Wells, CSO at MMV. “It is a timely and well-deserved award.  OZ277, now called arterolane, has been developed into the new combination  Synriam,  with Sun Pharmaceuticals in India. OZ439 (now called artefenomel) is in clinical trials in African children in combination with ferroquine. MMV’s strong collaboration with Professor Vennerstrom, his exceptional research team at UNMC, and the international collaboration he spearheaded has been tremendously successful over the last decade in finding new molecules to play a significant role in the fight against malaria.”

OZ439 has been in the limelight before. In July 2015 the compound was considered one of "30 high-impact innovations to save lives" by the inaugural report of the Innovation Countdown 2030 initiative led by PATH.