Eurartesim®, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP), the first novel chemical entity developed by MMV (in partnership with Sigma-Tau) is awarded MMV Project of the Year 2011. With the recent European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval, this medicine can now be used safely and effectively, and be deployed widely.
Eurartesim offers important advantages over currently used artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs): it is easier to administer – once-a-day for 3 days as opposed to twice-a-day – and, owing to the long half-life of piperaquine, it also offers better and longer protection from new malaria infections.1 Additionally, formulation developments mean it has a 2-year shelf life in disease-endemic countries.
Although DHA-PQP was already available, it could not be purchased using donor funds since it was not registered as being developed to international standards. This hampered its widespread use. The EMA approval has changed that and the drug, in the form of Eurartesim, now has the potential to treat many more vulnerable people in malaria-endemic countries. It was with this goal in mind that MMV and Sigma-Tau joined forces back in 2004.
→ Go to an interview with Dr Marco Corsi, Medical Director, Neglected Diseases Department (R&D), Signma-Tau.
1 Valecha N et al. “An open-label, randomised study of dihydroartemisinin- piperaquine versus artesunatemefloquine for falciparum malaria in Asia.” PLoS One. 5(7):e11880 (2010)