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Merck Serono signs agreement to develop antimalarial therapy

Deal means the German firm obtains rights to candidate DDD107498


Merck Serono has signed an agreement with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) to obtain the rights to investigational antimalarial compound DDD107498.

The aim of the clinical programme is to demonstrate whether the investigational compound exerts activity on a number of malaria parasite lifecycle stages and remain active in the body for long enough to offer potential as a single-dose treatment against severe strains of malaria.

Luciano Rossetti, executive VP global head of R&D at Merck Serono, commented: “This agreement strengthens out global health research programme and our ongoing collaboration with Medicines for Malaria Venture.

“MMV is known worldwide for its major contribution to delivering innovative antimalarial treatments to the most vulnerable populations suffering from this disease and we share this goal.”

The drug candidate originated from a collaboration between MMV and the University of Dundee's drug discovery unit. While development and commercialisation of the compound is under Merck Serono's responsibility, MMV will provide expertise in the field and provide access to its public and private sector networks in countries affected by malaria.

Dr Timothy Wells, CSO at MMV, added: “Working with partners like Merck Serono is critical to the progress of potential antimalarial compounds, like DDD107498, through the malaria drug pipeline

“Their global health programme is gaining momentum and we need more compounds to tackle malaria, a disease that places a huge burden on the world's most vulnerable populations.”

According to the World Health Organisation, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2013 and an estimated 584,000 deaths, primarily in young children from the developing world.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

7th April 2015

From: Research



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