Novartis and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have initiated a Phase IIb clinical trial of KAF156 to treat multidrug-resistant malaria in Africa.
KAF156 belongs to the imidazolopiperazines class of antimalarial compounds and is believed to have the potential to clear infection and also prevent the transmission of the malaria parasite.
The Phase IIb trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy of KAF156 in combination with a new and improved formulation of an existing antimalarial drug called lumefantrine.
As part of the trial, various dosing combinations and dosing schedules of the combination will be tested in adults, adolescents and children.
MMV CEO Dr David Reddy said: "To build on the gains made against malaria since the turn of the century, we need new medicines that are effective across all types of resistance patterns and geographies, and that are easy to administer, especially to children.
"With the Phase IIb trial of KAF156-lumefantrine now underway, the MMV-Novartis partnership is drawing closer to the exciting prospect of such a new medicine that would be a powerful tool to fight the disease."
The trial will initially be performed in adults in Mali, Africa and will be expanded to adolescents and children at 16 additional centres across a total of nine countries in Africa and Asia.
In a Phase IIa proof-of-concept trial, KAF156 was found to be fast-acting and potent in various stages of the parasite's lifecycle and demonstrated rapid clearance of Plasmodium falciparum, as well as Plasmodium vivax parasites.