Novartis and collaborators have announced the discovery of a novel antimalarial drug candidate that has shown promise as a next-generation treatment for drug-resistant strains of the disease.
The findings demonstrate that spiroindolone NITD609 is effective against both strains of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum and P vivax.
Using a novel mechanism, NITD609 rapidly cleared plasmodium in a malaria mouse model and has shown pharmacological properties compatible with a once-daily dosing regimen.
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research president Mark Fishman said that malaria has demonstrated a frustrating ability to outwit new medicines, from quinine to today's increased tolerance to artemisinin derivatives.
"We are delighted that our scientists could provide this potential new malaria therapy, based on an unprecedented chemical structure and directed to a novel target," Fishman said.
Further evaluation is ongoing and depending on the outcome of these studies the compound will progress to phase I human trials.
The Novartis-led collaboration includes the Scripps Research Institute and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute with support from the Wellcome Trust, Medicines for Malaria Venture, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research and the US Government.