Novartis scientists find new way to treat malaria
Novartis has found a new drug target for treating malaria. Its scientists have identified phosphatidylinositol-4 kinase (PfPI4K) as the target of the imidazopyrazines, a novel experimental antimalarial compound class that inhibits the development of multiple malaria-causing Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the human host.
The on-going research to develop imidazopyrazines as a new treatment for malaria is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Medicines for Malaria Venture.
More than 660, 000 people die from malaria each year; most of whom are African children. While current therapies are effective against the most common forms of malaria, recent publications suggest that the efficacy of the artemisinin-derivatives has been compromised in parts of South-East Asia. In addition, these therapies are only effective against the acute blood stages of the disease, thus leaving some patients at risk of relapse after initial treatment.
“This new target for malaria provides an avenue to develop the next-generation antimalarial drugs that are capable of preventing, treating and blocking the spread of malaria, a key goal of Novartis. Compounds that inhibit this new target have the potential to complement our current malaria drug pipeline, KAE609 and KAF156, and could provide a path toward elimination of the disease.”
Thierry Diagana, Head of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases.
The discovery by Novartis scientists was published online in the journal Nature.
Novartis has a long-term commitment to combating malaria and this new research complements its current malaria drug pipeline, KAE609 and KAF156, in the fight against this infectious disease.
The Novartis Malaria Initiative is one of the pharmaceutical industry’s largest access-to-medicines programs, focused on treatment, access, capacity-building and research & development. Over the last decade, the initiative has delivered over 600 million treatments without profit to the public sector, in more than 60 countries.
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