Efficacy of Cipargamin (KAE609) in a Randomized, Phase II Dose-Escalation Study in Adults in Sub-Saharan Africa With Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria

19 Aug 2021
Esther K Schmitt, Gilles Ndayisaba, Adoke Yeka, Kwaku Poku Asante, Martin P Grobusch, Etienne Karita, Henry Mugerwa, Stephen Asiimwe, Abraham Oduro, Bakary Fofana, Seydou Doumbia, Guoqin Su, Katalin Csermak Renner, Vinay Kumar Venishetty, Sarfaraz Sayyed, Judith Straimer, Ivan Demin, Sarita Barsainya, Caroline Boulton, Preetam Gandhi


Cipargamin (KAE609) is a potent antimalarial in a phase II trial. Here we report efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and resistance marker analysis across a range of cipargamin doses. These were secondary endpoints from a study primarily conducted to assess the hepatic safety of cipargamin (hepatic safety data are reported elsewhere).


This phase II, multicenter, randomized, open-label, dose-escalation trial was conducted in sub-Saharan Africa in adults with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Cipargamin monotherapy was given as single doses up to 150 mg or up to 50 mg once daily for 3 days, with artemether-lumefantrine as control. Key efficacy endpoints were parasite clearance time (PCT), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–corrected and uncorrected adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) at 14 and 28 days. Pharmacokinetics and molecular markers of drug resistance were also assessed.


All single or multiple cipargamin doses ≥50 mg were associated with rapid parasite clearance, with median PCT of 8 hours versus 24 hours for artemether-lumefantrine. PCR-corrected ACPR at 14 and 28 days was >75% and 65%, respectively, for each cipargamin dose. A treatment-emerging mutation in the Pfatp4 gene, G358S, was detected in 65% of treatment failures. Pharmacokinetic parameters were consistent with previous data, and approximately dose proportional.


Cipargamin, at single doses of 50 to 150 mg, was associated with very rapid parasite clearance, PCR-corrected ACPR at 28 days of >65% in adults with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria, and recrudescent parasites frequently harbored a treatment-emerging mutation. Cipargamin will be further developed with a suitable combination partner.

Clinical Trials Registration

ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03334747).