Antimalarial Drug Development

Treating malaria is a global challenge. Resistance against artemisinin-based combination therapies has recently been detected in Southeast Asia, threatening the impact of standard therapies on malaria. Developing new and highly efficient antimalarials is, therefore, urgently needed. The Swiss TPH has a long and successful track record in antimalarial drug development. We are among the leading institutions in assay development and drug discovery. Our in vitro and in vivo models globally support the preclinical development of new antimalarials. Clinical research is carried out in endemic countries of tropical Africa.

Drug Discovery for Malaria

The NGBS programme in malaria drug discovery is a collaboration between public and private research institutes. This programme aims at solving two fundamental medical needs. Firstly, a one dose cure for P. falciparum malaria would be a breakthrough in solving compliance problems, and would also contribute easing logistical and cost issues. Also new molecules are needed to replace older ones that are increasingly rendered ineffective through resistance. Secondly, an attempt is made to identify targets that allow achieving effective cures for P. vivax infections.

Antimalarial Drug Screening

Our mandate with Medicines for Malaria Venture in Geneva – a non-profit foundation for new antimalarial drugs – comprises exploratory work on novel compounds from various sources. The goal is to identify novel chemical entities showing antimalarial activity in vitro and in rodent models. Our experience during the last decade is that such novel compounds can ultimately become part of the Medicines for Malaria Venture portfolio.

Link to Project

Classical approach vs. modelling approach

Shaping Next-Generation Interventions for Malaria Prevention

Despite progress to reduce malaria burden, malaria parasites are becoming resistant to antimalarial drugs; therefore, new interventions are needed to protect those most vulnerable. However, developing new medical interventions is resource-intensive, and it is often unclear until late in the development process the impact a new intervention will have. Additionally, selection among promising candidates for new antimalarial interventions and immunotherapies must occur early in development. To support this decision-making process, we use mathematical disease models and machine learning tools to define the key performance characteristics for an impactful intervention. We are collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring together R&D, implementation, and global health specialists to define target product profiles for next-generation interventions. Read more