DSM265 is a novel antimalarial drug in clinical development that acts as a selective inhibitor of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase. In a previous phase 1b study, a single 150-mg dose of DSM265 showed partial efficacy against experimentally induced blood-stage malaria (IBSM). Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling predicted a human efficacious dose of 340 mg. The primary objectives of the current study were to determine the safety and efficacy of a single oral 400-mg dose of DSM265 against in the IBSM model. Eight healthy participants were inoculated intravenously with 2,800 parasites and treated with DSM265 7 days later. Unexpectedly, one participant did not develop parasitemia during the study. All other participants developed parasitemia, with the complete clearance of asexual parasites occurring following DSM265 treatment. All seven subjects also became gametocytemic. The secondary objectives were to investigate the gametocytocidal and transmission-blocking activity of a second 400-mg dose of DSM265, which was administered 23 days after inoculation. Gametocytes were not cleared by the second dose of DSM265, and transmission-blocking activity could not be determined due to low gametocyte densities. Three DSM265-related adverse events occurred, including a cutaneous rash in one subject on the day of the second DSM265 dose. The results obtained in this study support the prediction of the efficacious dose of DSM265 and provide further evidence that DSM265 is generally safe and well tolerated. In addition, this study confirms preclinical data indicating that DSM265 permits the development and maturation of gametocytes and does not clear mature circulating gametocytes. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under identifier NCT02573857.).
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