• Blog Post

We are onboarding an asset against a Neglected Tropical Worm disease from Salvensis and the London school of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Publish Date

09 SEP 2019


We announced today that promising assets from a drug research programme led by Salvensis and LSTHM will now be managed by the Global Health Institute to further progress towards a potential product with the goal to prevent and cure patients affected by schistosomiasis

  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Salvensis and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) feed the global drug research portfolio with pre-clinical assets developed for the treatment and prevention of schistosomiasis
  • Salvensis & LSHTM’s proprietary assets are handed over to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to progress the programme towards drug development.

Eysins, Switzerland, 9th of September – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced the transfer of proprietary compounds active against schistosomiasis from Salvensis and LSHTM. By taking over the responsibility of the research programme, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, underscores its firm and long-term commitment to contribute to the discovery and development of new treatment and preventive solutions to fight schistosomiasis.

Schistosomiasis affects almost 240 million people worldwide and consequently patients can suffer from severe morbidity for which Praziquantel is the only recommended drug for infection and disease caused by the species of schistosomes infecting humans.

LSHTM & Salvensis collaborated on a £1.88 million drug discovery programme funded by the UK Medical Research Council to screen and discover innovative anti-schistosomal compounds with differentiated and complementary attributes to praziquantel. Development of the screen facilitating this work was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with screening compounds donated by Medicines for Malaria Venture. The fruits of their research are now handed over to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to further progress it towards a potential investigational new drug.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is contributing to preventive chemotherapy of school aged children by donating 250 million tablets per year to the World Health Organization. We are the Sponsor of the currently ongoing clinical trials for the pediatric formulation which has been developed by the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium.

“This exciting research programme is essential to the global schistosomiasis drug portfolio and, if successful, could play an important role for the control of the disease” said Dr Beatrice Greco, Head of R&D and Access at the Global Health Institute.

“This drug discovery project has yielded exciting new assets and I hope that this will translate into a new preventive therapy for patients” said Dr Mark Gardner, Director of Salvensis. “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,’s expertise and long history in the field of schistosomiasis makes them the ideal company to progress the project further.”

 “Drug resistance being always a risk for infectious disease, I believe that new therapeutic agents are much needed for this neglected tropical disease” said Professor Quentin Bickle at the LSHTM.