14 February 2011
Research on a promising new antimalarial compound, OZ439, conducted at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), Monash University, was recently published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research is being carried out in collaboration with the Medicines for Malaria Venture (Geneva, Switzerland) and academic groups at the University of Nebraska and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.
Lead author Professor Susan Charman (Monash University) said the paper "describes for the first time the design of an antimalarial drug candidate that offers the hope of a single, oral dose cure for malaria, a disease that kills almost one million people a year."
Professor Charman highlights the exceptional features of OZ439 that make it stand out from the available antimalarial drugs, "OZ439 has outstanding efficacy in animal models of malaria, and cures mice with a single oral dose...this is a feature that we have not seen with comparator drugs tested at equivalent or higher doses in the same model. OZ439 has the added bonus of being completely synthetic and inexpensive to produce, which is critical for any new antimalarial drug candidate".
OZ439 has recently been shown to be safe at doses up to 1600 mg when administered to healthy volunteers, and is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial in malaria patients.
Malaria is a tropical disease caused by a mosquito-borne parasite. Each year, malaria kills over 780,000 people of which 85 per cent are children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 250 million people suffer its debilitating effects. The disease is a critical problem in Africa, Asia and South America.
Further information: Professor Susan Charman + 61 3 9903 9626.