Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) announced today that it has entered into two joint research agreements for the development of new antimalarial medicines.

The first of these agreements is a joint development program with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis, Tennessee, United States, “St. Jude”) and the non-profit public–private partnership Medicines for Malaria Venture (Geneva, Switzerland, “MMV”). Under this agreement, the three parties will conduct preclinical and clinical development of the oral antimalarial candidate compound SJ733. In addition to being rapidly effective and having the potential to cure in a single dose, SJ733 is non-artemisinin based, which means it could also be effective in patients for whom existing artemisinin-based malaria treatments have little effect due to recently increasing resistance.

The second agreement is a joint development program with the Broad Institute (Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, “Broad”), a collaborative research facility which involves researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eisai and Broad will work together on the optimization of compounds screened from Broad's library. These compounds are believed to be unique as they have a mechanism of action inhibiting protein synthesis, which is completely different to other existing antimalarial medicines. The goal is to identify those with the potential to be effective as new antimalarial medicines.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is a deadly disease that led to an estimated 630,000 deaths, mostly among African children in 2012 alone,1 according to the World Health Organization. In recent years, there have been reports of strains of malaria having resistance to currently available medicines including the relatively new artemisinin combination therapies as well. Therefore the highest priority for researchers is to develop Single Exposure Radical Cure and Prophylaxis (SERCaP), a single, multi-component drug that would cure a treated patient after one exposure and provide substantial post-treatment protection from reinfection and recrudescence.

These unique projects were evaluated and each was awarded a grant by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), an international non-profit organization that aims to promote the discovery of new health technologies for eliminating infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries.

Under its human health care (hhc) philosophy, Eisai is determined to be proactive in improving access to medicines worldwide through partnerships with governments, international organizations, and other non-profit private sector organizations. Eisai is also actively engaged in several other research collaborations with Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil's national research agency, and MMV to discover and develop new medicines for the treatment of malaria. Through these collaborations, Eisai aims to make new treatments available as early as possible to patients with malaria and thereby further increase the healthcare benefits provided to the patients and their families.

Media Inquiries:

Public Relations Department,
Eisai Co., Ltd.


< Notes to editors >

1. About SJ733

SJ733 is a novel inhibitor of Plasmodium falciparum ATPase4 (PfATP4), a critical ion channel for sodium regulation in the parasite that causes malaria. As a result of this mechanism, SJ733 can clear parasites very rapidly. The clinical candidate SJ733 was developed by a consortium of researchers in academic and non-profit organizations in the U.S. including St. Jude, the University of California, Rutgers University, and the University of South Florida.

2. About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (St. Jude) is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to increase the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. For further information, please visit www.stjude.orgor follow St. Jude at @stjuderesearch

3. About Medicines for Malaria Venture

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) is a leading non-profit public–private partnership in the field of malaria, aiming to reduce the burden of malaria in disease-endemic countries by discovering, developing and facilitating delivery of new, effective and affordable antimalarial medicines. It has the world’s largest portfolio of antimalarial medicines in development. Eisai and MMV are also engaged in other collaborations to discover and develop new medicines for the treatment of malaria. For further information, please visit: www.mmv.org/

4. About the Broad Institute

The Broad Institute (Broad) is a collaborative research facility that includes researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is the world's leading research institute in genomic medicine. Broad researchers have pioneered the methods to systematically discover the genes responsible for different kinds of diseases including infectious diseases. Eisai and Broad are also collaborating on joint discovery and development of new therapeutic agents for neglected tropical diseases including Chagas disease and tuberculosis. For further information, please visit: www.broadinstitute.org/

5. About the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund

The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) is an international non-profit organization aimed at advancing the research and development of new health technologies from Japan to fight infectious diseases prevalent specifically in the developing world, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases. Established as a public-private partnership between the Government of Japan, a consortium of pharmaceutical companies, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GHIT Fund facilitates and funds research and development of new health technologies through partnership creation and grant-making activities. For further information, please visit: www.ghitfund.org