Novartis takes aim at drug-resistant Malaria
Novartis and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) launched a patient trial for KAF156, a new generation antimalarial drug that has the potential to affect drug-resistant strains of the malaria parasite.
The trial is designed to test the effectiveness of KAF156 in combination with a new, improved version of the existing antimalarial lumefantrine. The first trial center is now located in Mali, in the following months, it is planned to cover sixteen additional centers in a total of nine countries in Africa and Asia.
KAF156 belongs to a new class of antimalarial substances, called imidazolopiperazines. The drug has the potential to eliminate malaria, including resistant strains of pathogens, as well as blocking the transmission of the malaria parasite. In a phase IIa proof-of-concept trial, it was proved that the substance is fast-acting and potent across multiple stages of the parasite’s lifecycle, rapidly clearing both P. falciparum and P. vivax parasites.
The phase IIb study will test multiple dosing combinations and dosing schedules of KAF156 and lumefantrine, including the feasibility of a single dose therapy in adults, adolescents and children. As children are the most vulnerable to malaria, the goal is to include them in the clinical trial as quickly as possible, following the safety review of the data generated in adults, thereby potentially accelerating the development of a pediatric formulation.