Background: This case study describes how a public-private partnership between Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Sigma-Tau Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite SpA achieved international regulatory approval for use of the fixed-dose artemisinin-based combination therapy dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (Eurartesim®) for the treatment of malaria, enabling more widespread access to the medicine in malaria-endemic countries.
Case description: The combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine demonstrated success in clinical trials for the treatment of malaria in Asia and Africa in the 2000s. However, as it had not been developed to international regulatory standards it was out of the reach of the majority of patients in disease-endemic countries, particularly those reliant on public healthcare systems supported by international donor funding. To overcome this, as of 2004 MMV worked in partnership with Sigma-Tau, Holleykin, Oxford University, the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, and the National Institute of Malaria Research India to develop the dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine combination to international standards. In 2011, the European Commission granted full marketing authorization to Sigma-Tau for Eurartesim.
Discussion and evaluation: The partnership between MMV, Sigma-Tau, and numerous other academic and industrial partners across the world, led to the successful development to EMA regulatory standards of a high-quality and highly efficacious anti-malarial treatment that otherwise would not have been possible. The dossier has also been submitted to the WHO for prequalification, and a safety statement to guide correct use of Eurartesim has been produced. In July 2012, the first delivery to a disease-endemic country was made to Cambodia, where the medicine is being used to treat patients and help counter the emergence of artemisinin resistance in the area. A paediatric dispersible formulation of Eurartesim is being developed, with the objective to submit the dossier to the EMA by the end of 2014.
Conclusions: The development of Eurartesim to international regulatory standards exemplifies the strengths of the product development partnership model in utilising the individual skills and expertise of partners with differing objectives to achieve a common goal. Successful uptake of Eurartesim by public health systems in malaria-endemic countries poses new challenges, which may require additional partnerships as we move forward.
Ubben, D.; Poll, E.M. MMV in partnership: the Eurartesim® experience. Malaria Journal (2013) 12 (1) 211. [DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-12-211]