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Novartis and MMV expand partnership to develop KAF156

15 June 2016  •  Author: Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

Novartis is to further expand its long-standing partnership with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) to develop the next-generation antimalarial treatment KAF156.


Novartis will lead the development of the compound with scientific and financial support from MMV in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Commenting on the news, Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis, said: “With a child dying from malaria every two minutes and the threat of drug resistance growing year-on-year, there is a real urgency to step up global efforts to combat this disease. Partnerships and collaborations like this one with MMV are essential for the development of next generation antimalarials and accelerating efforts to eradicate this deadly disease.” 

Dr David Reddy, CEO of MMV, added: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Novartis in the development of this exciting candidate antimalarial medicine with the potential to tackle drug resistance and improve patient compliance. As such, this agreement marks an important milestone, as MMV continues its mission to discover, develop and deliver new, effective and affordable antimalarials to the patients who need them most.”

A more convenient dosing regimen

KAF156 is one of the first antimalarial drug candidates to enter Phase IIb clinical development in more than 20 years. It acts against the two parasites responsible for the majority of malaria deaths (Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax) and against both the blood and liver stages of the parasite’s lifecycle. The drug also has the potential to provide a more convenient dosing regimen and to address the multidrug resistance that has emerged in five countries of the Great Mekong Sub-region.

The Novartis Malaria Initiative is committed to drive research, development and access to novel drugs to eliminate malaria. It is one of the pharmaceutical industry’s largest access-to-medicine programmes. Since 2001, the initiative has delivered more than 750 million treatments without profit, including 300 million dispersible paediatric treatments, developed by Novartis in collaboration with MMV, mostly to the public sector of malaria-endemic countries. Although preventable and treatable, malaria continues to kill a child every two minutes and threatens the lives of many more.

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