Tafenoquine, a potential nextgeneration anti-relapse medicine for P. vivax malaria, successfully completed a Phase IIB trial in 2013. In that trial, a 300 mg single dose of tafenoquine plus chloroquine provided better protection from P. vivax relapse than chloroquine alone. In addition, the US FDA granted tafenoquine Breakthrough Therapy designation – one of its newest initiatives aimed to accelerate the development and review times of drugs for serious or life-threatening diseases.
Tafenoquine belongs to the same chemical family as primaquine and thus is associated with haemolytic side effects in patients who are deficient in the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). As a result, it will need to be deployed alongside a point-of-care G6PD-deficiency diagnostic test. The tafenoquine team are working together with PATH, whose Diagnostics Group received a grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to accelerate the development of a G6PD test to help achieve safe and effective use of medicines for radical cure of patients infected with P. vivax.
Thanks to the success of the Phase IIB trial, tafenoquine entered Phase III in April 2014, taking it closer to becoming the only new medicine approved for the treatment of relapsing malaria in over 60 years. In recognition of the team’s dedicated work to advance the project this far and in view of the promise tafenoquine holds, MMV’s Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) has nominated tafenoquine the MMV Project of the Year 2013. Representatives of the GSK/MMV project team talk about the challenges, the partnership and what the future holds.
→ Go to an interview with Project Leader, Dr JP Kleim
→ Go to an interview with MMV's Dr Jörg Möhrle and Dr Wiweka Kaszubska