Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)
The Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), founded in 1999 as a public-private partnership, seeks to discover, develop and deliver new antimalarial medicines suitable for use in developing countries. MMV now manages the largest portfolio of malaria medicine research in history, with 19 projects in different developmental stages entering into 2006.
Its objective is to develop one new antimalarial every 5 years with the first one registered before 2010. With a number of medicines in Phase II and III clinical trials, it is likely that its goal will be reached well before the end of the decade. Its 39 R&D partners include academic research institutes, biotech firms and pharmaceutical companies.
Major pharmaceutical partners include GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Roche, Sigma-Tau, and Ranbaxy. Under its mini-portfolio agreement with GSK, MMV subsidizes 30 scientists at GSK's Tres Cantos facility drug discovery facility. As compounds move into clinical development, GSK provides the clinical, regulatory and manufacturing expertise and resources through its global R&D and supply network. The Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore is working with MMV, the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Wellcome Trust to discover new malaria medicines and is developing a one-dose cure for P. falciparum, the most dangerous form of malaria, and a curative modality for P. vivax, the most frequent-occurring and widely distributed type of malaria.
MMV’s funding comes from various foundations, donor governments and corporations with the largest contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership also consider MMV an important partner in its fight to control and defeat malaria. The projects that are in clinical trials include, Artekin® with Chong Qing Holley and Sigma-Tau, and Pediatric Coartem® with Novartis. Roche developed Synthetic Peroxide (OS277) and then handed it on to Ranbaxy to take through clinical trials.
In January 2008, GSK announced a new collaboration with MMV to identify novel drugs for the treatment of malaria. Research will focus on macrolide antibiotics, based on azithromycin, which may have promise as an antimalarial treatment. Under the new agreement, MMV will provide funding for research to be performed at GSK.
Macrolide antibiotics are a well-established class of antimicrobial agents that have a significant role in the treatment of infectious diseases. The macrolide azithromycin is known to have antibacterial activity, but it has also shown some activity against malaria. The research collaboration between GSK and MMV will investigate the potential of azithromycin-based drugs to treat drug resistant malaria.