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Novartis led collaboration discovers treatment for drug resistant malaria

New drug effective against both common strains of the malaria parasite.

Scientists at the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) have collaborated with researchers from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), theSwiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and The Scripps Research Institute to discover a novel antimalarial candidate, spiroindolone NITD609, for the treatment of drug resistant malaria.

Novartis led collaborative study was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore and the US government.

Spiroindolone NITD609 was shown to be effective against both strains of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium (P) falciparum and P vivax, in the study.

The antimalarial candidate, with new mechanism of action, was shown to rapidly clear a plasmodium infection in a malaria mouse model and showed compatible pharmacological properties upon administration of a single oral dose.

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research president Mark Fishman said that the parasite has demonstrated a frustrating ability to outwit new medicines, from quinine to today's unsettling increased tolerance to artemisinin derivatives.

"We are delighted that our scientists could provide this new malaria therapy, based on a chemical structure and directed to a new target," Fishman said.