MMV, Novartis and partners discover novel antimalarial drug candidate

A new antimalarial candidate with a novel mechanism of action has demonstrated efficacy in mouse models of falciparum and vivax malaria.

03 Sep 2010

Novartis announced today that scientists at the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD), in collaboration with partners, have discovered a novel compound, spiroindolone NITD609, which shows promise as a next-generation treatment for drug-resistant malaria. Major support for the project was provided by the Wellcome Trust, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), A*STAR, Singapore and the US government.

The findings, published this week in Science, demonstrate that spiroindolone NITD609 is effective against the blood stage of the two most prevalent strains of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Through a novel mechanism, NITD609 rapidly cleared Plasmodium in a malaria mouse model and shows pharmacological properties compatible with a once-daily dosing regimen.

The discovery has taken less than 3 years to progress from a screening 'hit' to a viable preclinical candidate. “That is a turbo-charged pace,” said Tim Wells, chief scientist at Medicines for Malaria Venture, writing in Science.

Download the press release

Access the article in Science via subscription or pay per article