A warm PAMAfrica welcome to Merck as it joins the consortium

04 Oct 2022

Dr Jutta Reinhard-Rupp - Head Global Health Institute, Merck shares “As the Global Health R&D arm of Merck, we are very excited to join as a partner in the PAMAfrica consortium, to bring to the table a promising investigational drug and to benefit from the expertise and experience of strong partners in the field of malaria.”

Of several compounds from MMV’s portfolio known to be fully active against all drug-resistant strains, one front-runner combination that meets the target criteria has been selected. It is a promising new non-artemisinin combination treatment (non-ACT) with a shorter regimen than the current standard-of-care. Developed to treat malaria in populations living in endemic areas, the combination could help cure patients infected with resistant parasites, potentially impact transmission and support the overall objective of malaria elimination.

Merck joining forces with the Consortium represents a major achievement. The combination could explore one or two dose treatments – the precise regimen and doses are still under evaluation by the team.

Dr Timothy Wells (MMV), PAMAfrica project coordinator said: “I am delighted that Merck has joined the consortium, as we endeavor to jointly discover and develop new medicines to defeat malaria. They bring a new drug candidate which has the potential to treat existing infections, as well as prevent new infections, and potentially to prevent transmission. Merck has been a pioneer in the neglected disease space for many years and it’s great to be working with them on such an important combination.”

Prof. Dr Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma, Head of Clinical Operations at Centre de Recherche Medicales Lambaréné (CERMEL) shared: “We are excited to be working with Merck as part of the PAMAfrica consortium; Merck has shown a strong commitment to empowering African science and new medicines over the years in schistosomiasis, and it’s an important step that they are partnering with us on the development of a new antimalarial medicine which has great potential to overcome the threat of resistance.”

The ”As One Against Malaria”, program of the Merck’s Global Health Institute has developed an integrated approach to driving innovation through a number of projects leveraging their expertise. These projects are implemented together with their scientists and external partners, including from the National Malaria Control Programs in Africa. These initiatives also contribute to strengthening research capacity to make local health care systems more resilient, while creating sustainable businesses opportunities.