Global healthcare company, Novartis, has renewed its commitment to the fight against malaria with a pledge of $100 million investment to research and development of next generation anti-malaria drugs in the next five years.
The research and development investment is meant to advance the Novartis malaria pipeline through 2023 and to complete a comprehensive global clinical trial programme for the novel anti-malarial drug candidates – KAF156 and KAE609 (currently in Phase IIb and Phase IIa respectively).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, said, “Resistance to treatment presents the biggest threat to the incredible progress that has been made in the fight against malaria in the past 20 years. We cannot afford to wait; this is why we are committing to advance the research and development of next-generation treatments.”
The CEO added, “At the same time, we need to work to ensure that our innovation reaches those most in need, even those in the most remote locations.”
In order to enable patients in malaria-endemic countries to afford these new treatments once they become available, the company will again implement an equitable pricing strategy based on socio-economic conditions of different population segments, according to the statement.
In a statement issued on behalf of Novartis, Mina Okuru, Africa communications specialist of Hyderus Cyf, highlighted that “commitment includes expanding access to pediatric anti-malarials and implementing capacity-building programs to contribute to the WHO's target of reducing malaria-related child mortality by at least 90 percent by 2030.”
Global malaria deaths have fallen by more than 60 percent between 2000 and 2015.
Yet respondents fear progress could stall unless national governments provide more funding and international organizations target their support more effectively.
According to the 2017 World Malaria Report, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, up from 211 million cases in 2015.
By Melvin Tarlue