Two successful decades of Swiss collaborations to develop new anti-malarials

22 Mar 2019

Hooft van Huijsduijnen R, Wells T, Tanner M, Wittlin S

Malaria Journal
PMID: 30902051

Doi: 10.1186/s12936-019-2728-8

Over the last two decades there has been a renaissance in the pipeline of new drugs targeting malaria, with the launch of new products that help save the lives of children throughout the world. In addition, there is a wealth of new molecules both entering and progressing through clinical development. These bring hope for a new generation of simpler and more effective cures that could overcome the emerging threat of drug resistance. In addition, there is hope that some of these medicines will have prophylactic activity and can be used to protect vulnerable populations, given the absence of a highly effective vaccine. Switzerland has played a key role in the development of these medicines. First, the country has a long history of understanding the biology of parasites and the pharmacology of drug responses through the leadership of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. Second, the highly successful Swiss pharmaceutical industry brings, beyond excellence, a strong interest in neglected diseases, building on work at Hoffmann-La Roche in the last century and with more recent products from Novartis and other Swiss companies. Third, the emergence of product-development-partnerships, in this case led by the Medicines for Malaria Venture, based in Geneva, has helped to catalyze the development of new medicines and bring the community together within Switzerland and beyond. Finally, this progress would not have been possible without the engagement of the Swiss people and the support of the federal government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the State Secretariat of Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Swiss Republic and Canton of Geneva.

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