As One Against Malaria: The Programs

Contributing to fight malaria through our programs and initiatives as part of an integrated approach

Progress in malaria control relies on improved preventive measures; efficient treatment allowing to cure children and adults from symptomatic malaria; well-trained health professionals capable of proactive surveillance; robust diagnostic capacities with professional microscopists; full integration of all interventions managed in conjunction with National Malaria Control Programs in endemic countries.

M5717 & Drug Discovery

Our innovative holistic approach focuses on prevention and investigates also potential treatment options towards controlling and eliminating malaria.

Back in 2015, we added M5717 (previously known as DDD107498) to our drug development pipeline. M5717 is an investigational drug targeting the Plasmodium eukariotic Elongation Factor 2 (PeEF2): an enzyme involved in protein synthesis of the parasite. It has the potential to be a promising treatment and preventive option in the malaria field due to its activity against several stages of the parasite’s life cycle.

M5717 successfully completed two clinical Phase I studies as a single agent for cure (more in The Lancet Infectious Diseases) and prevention respectively, and is now preparing for clinical Phase II as a combination therapy. This is in line with the international guideline requiring new antimalarials to be developed as combination treatments to address the increasing challenge of drug resistance.

Claude Oeuvray Claude Oeuvray

M5717 is a promising asset in the malaria drug development landscape. We have decided to apply innovative clinical development approaches with the aim to best fulfill malaria medical needs. I am confident that our efforts could significantly contribute to the reduction of the high health burden caused by malaria.

Claude Oeuvray

Head of Global Health Development Program

Global Health Institute, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Preclinical research and new technologies

Preclinical research and new technologies have been supporting the development of M5717.

We also engage with our partners into drug discovery by creating a research platform for the identification of potential new antimalarial candidates for further development.

Thomas Spangenberg Thomas Spangenberg

Together with our partners, we aspire to translate the next generation of innovations from bench to bedside to help curing and preventing malaria.

Thomas Spangenberg

Head of Global Health Drug Discovery & Open Innovation

Global Health Institute, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Pavon

The parasite Plasmodium falciparum is believed to be the only form of the disease in Africa. Through a collaborative project, we have generated new research evidences in Namibia and Botswana indicating the presence of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale malaria in clinically silent populations. This data demonstrates the unexpected presence of additional malaria parasites in regions that are expected to reach elimination soon.

Building on this, we have partnered with key institutions in Africa and have established the Pan-African Vivax and Ovale Network (PAVON), an African network of centers of excellence for epidemiological surveillance and scientific research on malaria. This initiative is also implemented in the context of our research education programs in and for Africa.

Who is our champion?

“Involving more than ten African countries, the project supports policy making and offers training to African scientists, in a collective effort to strengthen health systems to help treating all forms of malaria and contribute to fortify epidemic preparedness.”

Claude Oeuvray - Head of Global Health Development Program, Global Health Institute, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Quote from our partner:

“Through PAVON involving African scientists of high repute and the Global Health Institute of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, we aim to highlight recent emergence of P. vivax in Sub-Saharan Africa.  An urgent attention is indeed needed on P. vivax and the two sympatric species of P. ovale to block their transmission and truly End Malaria for Good.”

Prof. Isaac Quaye, President, Pan African Ovale and Vivax Network (PAVON), Regent University, Ghana

Accurate diagnosis is key to malaria elimination

Microscopy is an essential pillar of healthcare laboratory capacity and requires continuous strengthening to ensure excellence in terms of diagnostics for several critical pathologies. Through our collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, healthcare workers are trained in microscopic diagnosis to improve identification of malaria together with other blood-borne diseases.

Specifically, through clinical microscopy, participants take on-line and hands-on trainings at the Noguchi Institute.  The participants at these trainings are medical technologists whose expertise and skills are critical assets to the Ghana Health Services.

Facts

  • 30

    students to be trained in 2021

  • 75

    new lab instruments

Who is our champion?

“In line with our Sustainability Strategy, the initiative is intended to strengthen healthcare systems, thus contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals no. 4, 8 and 9.”

James Mulry - Head of Global Health Diagnostics, Global Health Institute, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Quote from our partner:

“It is only through collaboration with like-minded partners from both the public and private sector that the fight against malaria can be won; a perfect example of such a collaboration in this fight is evident in the Ghana Laboratory Capacity (GALAC) program”

Prof. Abraham Anang, Former Director Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Ghana

Prevention from mosquito bites

Preventive methods, such as the use of insect repellents, form part of our strategic tools to help combating malaria. We are testing our insect repellent IR3535®, which is already used for protection against the bites of insects and ticks that can transmit diseases such as Lyme, Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.

Together with our partners in Ghana, LivFul Inc and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, we have implemented a three-stage program that evaluates a new formulation technology for long-lasting efficacy of IR3535® and includes a community-based study. Positive results for long-lasting protection against mosquito bites would potentially enable IR3535® to serve not only as a preventive method for personal use, but also, on a larger scale, as a vector control method to support population-based National Malaria Control programs.

Learn more

Who is our champion in Ghana?

“Our insect repellent IR3535® has the potential to become a key preventing tool in combatting malaria in a near future”

Delalih Manteau - Project manager, Malaria Projects, Ghana

Quote from our partner:

“Using a new long-lasting technology, STAYTEC™ from LivFul and the IR3535® active ingredient from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, this partnership has the potential to get the insect repellent into as many families as possible. By working together and engaging with African communities, we hope to develop greater acceptance of insect repellents as an additional preventing tool in the fight against malaria.”

Daniel Oppong, Managing Director, LivFul Africa