Fosun Pharma's Global Multi-Center Phase III Clinical Trial Project for A New Antimalarial Drug Receives 500 Million Japanese Yen Investment from GHIT Fund to Jointly Improve the Global Accessibility of Antimalarial Drugs
(Shanghai, China, 14 December 2023) The Japan-based Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) announced today that it will invest approximately US$3.3 million (approximately 500 million yen1) in a global multicenter Phase III clinical trial project (the "Program") led by Fosun Pharma for a triple artemisinin combination drug (Artemether-Lumefantrine-Amodiaquine fixed-dose formulation) against malaria in Africa and Southeast Asia, to accelerate the development and commercialization of this new drug.
The Project will be jointly conducted by Fosun Pharma, a major Chinese pharmaceutical and healthcare company, Marubeni, a leading Japanese integrated trading and investment business conglomerate, a Thailand-based research collaboration of universities, Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), and the product development partnership Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), which provides technical support and market access expertise. This is the first time GHIT Fund has invested in a research project led by a Chinese pharmaceutical company.
This drug candidate should have a significant public health benefit as it is expected to play an important role in the fight against artemisinin partial resistance (ART-R) which is now observed widely in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) of Southeast Asia2 and to some extent in several African countries, including Rwanda and Uganda. Importantly, the project includes the development of a co-formulated child-friendly version, given that most malaria cases are in children3.
Malaria is an infectious parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitos that affects approximately 250 million people annually and was responsible for approximately 620,000 deaths in 20213. Infection in the African region constitutes 95% of the total global malaria cases, and children under the age of 5 account for 80% of all malaria deaths in this region. The GHIT Fund invests in innovative drug development with the aim of contributing to global health through facilitating collaboration between Japanese and global institutions’ technology and innovation to address these neglected infectious diseases.
Wen Deyong, CEO of Fosun Pharma, said, “We are very pleased to work with GHIT Fund to promote the clinical research on this antimalarial innovator drug. The collaboration will accelerate the launch of this new drug so as to actively respond to the threat of artemisinin partial resistance and partner drug resistance of Plasmodium falciparumparasites and save more lives from malaria. Fosun Pharma is committed to further improving the accessibility and affordability of antimalarial drugs through continuous innovation and our global operational capabilities, so as to continuously strive for a malaria-free world.”
Dr. Osamu Kunii, CEO of the GHIT Fund, said “We are very excited to have Marubeni and Fosun Pharma as our new product development partners. It is an important step forward to invest in the development of antimalarial drugs in late-phase clinical trials to advance commercialization. The number of malaria cases and deaths in children under 5 years old is an urgent issue. This investment will make a significant contribution to reducing the burden of malaria globally, especially among young children.”
The antimalarial drug independently developed by Fosun Pharma has been used to treat more than 60 million patients with severe malaria worldwide
The artemisinin based antimalaria medicines originated from China have made significant contributions to global malaria prevention and control. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, about 240 million people benefit from artemisinin-based combination therapies every year. The artesunate for injection (Artesun®) independently developed by Fosun Pharma is the first-line treatment of severe malaria for both adults and children recommended by the WHO since 2011. It has become a well-known Chinese innovator drug in Africa and the world. So far, Artesun® has been used to treat more than 60 million patients with severe malaria worldwide, most of whom were African children under five years old.