Salute

Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium Awarded USD4.9 Million Grant from Global Health Innovative Technology Fund

- LEIDEN, The Netherlands, May 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

- The second research grant from GHIT provides further support for the Phase II development of a pediatric formulation to combat schistosomiasis in pre-school children

The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, a Consortium dedicated to the development of a new pediatric formulation against schistosomiasis received almost USD4.9 million from the Japanese Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund. The GHIT Fund reaffirms, with this second research grant, its confidence in the work being done by the consortium to offer a treatment solution for pre-school children and the future role that the Consortium will be playing for the elimination of schistosomiasis

GHIT's mission is to facilitate international partnerships that bring Japanese innovation, investment, and leadership to the global fight against infectious diseases and poverty in the developing world. Dr. Slingsby, CEO & Executive Director of the GHIT Fund (Japan) says, "There is great need for a formulation of praziquantel created specifically for the pediatric population under six years old. Local healthcare centres and entire communities across Africa and South America (like in Brazil) are faced with a dilemma, where physicians are using an adult formulation for the needs of children. The Consortium is working to help fill the gap by developing and registering a formulation for pre-school-age children."

The existing 'gold standard' treatment for schistosomiasis is praziquantel (PZQ), which was developed by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the 1970s through a research collaboration. It is safe and effective, and is available in tablets, suitable for adults and school-age children. Proper treatment of preschool-aged children, including infants and toddlers suffering from schistosomiasis, is hampered due to the lack of a suitable pediatric dosage form that can be readily administered to children. This unmet medical need represents a significant gap toward the main goal of eliminating schistosomiasis. The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium is working to develop orodispersible (fast disintegrating) tablets for children from three months old to six years old.

This research grant is intended to fund the costs for the conduct of a Phase II clinical study in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it will also cover additional costs such as those related to active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) process development activities.

"The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium was founded on the belief that working together, public and private partners will make faster and more significant progress in developing a suitable treatment for schistosomiasis in children. This Consortium brings together high-caliber experts and some of the best-in-class capabilities in neglected diseases, paving the way for us to bring the new pediatric formulation where it is desperately needed," states Kathleen Ford, Chair of the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium Board and Head of Global Clinical Operations at Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

"This additional GHIT grant will certainly contribute to the progress of the program and to the fight against schistosomiasis."

The first research grant from GHIT to the Consortium was awarded in 2014 and used to fund the Phase I drug development program.

For the complete press release: http://goo.gl/1RQMWG

29 maggio 2015 ADNKronos
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