Two MIPS projects selected in the top 30 global health innovations

Two MIPS projects selected in the top 30 global health innovations

23 July 2015

Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) research teams are leading two of the top thirty innovations in global health.

The IC30 initiative identifies and showcases lifesaving innovations with great promise to transform global health by 2030, and to help accelerate progress toward the new health targets proposed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

OZ439 is currently undergoing Phase IIb clinical trials in malaria patients in combination with piperaquine. The clinical development program is being conducted through a partnership between MMV and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi. A second Phase IIb trial to test OZ439 in combination with additional partner drugs is planned to for 2015.

Professor Susan Charman said “drug resistance is a major problem and we desperately need new drugs, such as OZ439, that are effective against resistant parasites. The added bonus of a single dose administration would have a major impact on improving patient compliance and treatment outcomes.”

OZ439 is one of the front-runner compounds currently being developed by MMV for potential single dose treatment of uncomplicated malaria.

In the Innovations for Combating Infectious Diseases category, the drug candidate for the treatment of malaria known as OZ439 was highlighted for its potential as a “potent, single dose antimalarial drug”. With malaria parasites becoming resistant to existing drug treatments, simple treatments to rapidly and completely eliminate the Plasmodium parasite from the patient’s blood are crucial. OZ439, discovered through an international collaboration between researchers at MIPS, the University of Nebraska, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, and Geneva-based not-for-profit product development partnership, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), is a synthetic peroxide which may be effective against parasites that are resistant to the artemisinin class of drugs.

“This recognises the efforts of the Monash team and our international partners and comes at a particularly exciting time as we begin our first human clinical trials," Dr McIntosh said.

Project Leader Associate Professor Michelle McIntosh said she was delighted that the inhaled oxytocin project has been identified, and this builds upon the co-development agreement recently established with global pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that will bring an inhaled form of the drug a step closer to reality. 

Few women in developed countries die of blood loss in childbirth, but in remote areas and developing countries, haemorrhage is the leading contributor to an estimated 287,000 maternal deaths per year. The WHO recommends administration of oxytocin at every birth to prevent postpartum haemorrhage and it is routinely used in high-income countries. However in countries with fewer resources, there can be a lack of appropriate infrastructure to keep the drug at the consistent cold temperature required and limited availability of trained healthcare workers and supplies to administer the product. A simple to use, heat-stable inhaled oxytocin would overcome these barriers.

In the Maternal, Child, and Newborn Health category, the MIPS-led oxytocin project was selected as a leading innovation.

Reimagining Global Health, the Innovation Countdown 2030 (IC2030) initiative’s inaugural report, features 30 innovations selected from a pool of over 500 projects. Selected by 60 independent health experts who evaluated and ranked innovations, based on affordability, accessibility, effectiveness, and other key factors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges, the two research projects from MIPS were selected for their remarkable potential to save lives faster.

Researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) are team leaders for two of the top thirty innovations in global health, according to a new report.