KAF156 enters phase IIb combination studies

MMV and Novartis launch patient trial in Africa of first compound from a novel class of antimalarials

21 Aug 2017

KAF156, a promising compound in MMV’s portfolio, has entered phase IIb patient trials in combination with an improved new formulation of the existing antimalarial lumefantrine. KAF156 is the first compound from a novel class of antimalarials, the imidazolopiperazines, and has the potential to be a game-changer in malaria elimination, rapidly curing malaria infections including resistant strains and blocking transmission of the parasite.

Clinical trials have begun in adults and are expected to expand to include adolescents and children in a total of nine countries in Africa and Asia in 2017-2018.

Novartis is developing KAF156 with scientific and financial support from Medicines for Malaria Venture (in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). KAF156 is one of two advanced antimalarial development programmes led by Novartis; the other is KAE609 (cipargamin). Both compounds are the result of a Wellcome Trust, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Singapore Economic Development Board-supported joint research programme with the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. The programme aimed to discover the next generation of antimalarial drugs.

“To build on the gains made against malaria since the turn of the century, we need medicines with new modes of action that are effective across all types of resistance patterns and geographies, and that are easy to administer, especially to children,” said David Reddy, CEO of MMV. “With the phase IIb trial of KAF156-lumefantrine now underway, the MMV–Novartis partnership is drawing closer to the exciting prospect of such a new medicine that would be a powerful tool to fight the disease.”