General contact

Main switchboard
Switzerland

+41 61 324 11 11
+41 61 324 80 01
Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. GMT+1

US switchboard

+1 862 778 21 00
Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

Media

Global Media Relations
Eric Althoff
Basel, Switzerland

+41 61 324 7999

Investors

Investor Relations
Switzerland

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. GMT+1
(Central European Time)

Reporting side effects

Report a suspected side effect (also known as an adverse event) related to a Novartis Pharmaceutical drug or a Novartis Vaccine.

Reporting side effects

pane 4 content

Media releases

November 28, 2013 07:15 CET

New malaria target identified with potential to prevent, block, and treat multiple stages of the malaria life cycle

  • Findings published in Nature advance a Novartis goal to help eliminate malaria by identifying a new target that could lead to a treatment for multiple stages of the disease
  • Malaria kills more than 660,000 people each year, mostly African children[1]

Basel, Switzerland, November 28, 2013 - Novartis scientists have discovered a new drug target for treating malaria. The discovery, which is published online in the journal Nature,[2] identifies phosphatidylinositol-4 kinase (PfPI4K) as the target of the imidazopyrazines, a novel experimental antimalarial compound class that inhibits the development of multiple malaria-causing Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the human host.

The on-going research to develop imidazopyrazines as a new treatment for malaria is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Medicines for Malaria Venture.

Each year malaria kills more than 660,000 people most of whom are African children. While current therapies are effective against the most common forms of malaria, recent publications suggest that the efficacy of the artemisinin-derivatives has been compromised in parts of South-East Asia. In addition, these therapies are only effective against the acute blood stages of the disease, thus leaving some patients at risk of relapse after initial treatment. Relapse prevention is especially important for P. vivax, which can form hypnozoites, dormant parasites that can persist in the liver for up to two years before reinitiating a blood-stage infection.

"This new target for malaria provides an avenue to develop the next-generation antimalarial drugs that are capable of preventing, treating and blocking the spread of malaria, a key goal of Novartis," commented Thierry Diagana, Head of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases. "Compounds that inhibit this new target have the potential to complement our current malaria drug pipeline, KAE609 and KAF156, and could provide a path toward elimination of the disease."

The paper describes how scientists discovered a new class of compound with an imidazopyrazine core, to identify this new malaria target. "Our scientists carried out a large phenotypic screen which, coupled with modern genome analysis and editing tools, constitute a powerful technology platform to discover and validate drug targets for next-generation antimalarial drug discovery," said Martin Seidel, Institute Director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF).

They then isolated strains of parasites that had become resistant to the compound class and identified the mutated genes. For one of these genes, PfPI4K, they went on to show through biochemical experiments that imidazopyrazines work through interaction with the ATP-binding pocket of the kinase. They also showed that these compounds are active against blood-stage field isolates of the major human malaria pathogens, P. falciparum and P. vivax, and inhibit liver-stage hypnozoites of a parasite P. cynomolgi, which is closely related to P. vivax.

Scientists from GNF and NITD collaborated with an international team of scientists from the University of California, San Diego, and Columbia University.

Broader commitment to fighting malaria: Novartis Malaria Initiative
This research is part of a broader commitment by Novartis and complements our current malaria drug pipeline, KAE609 and KAF156, in the fight against malaria. The Novartis Malaria Initiative is one of the pharmaceutical industry's largest access-to-medicines programs, focused on treatment, access, capacity-building and research & development. Over the last decade, the initiative has delivered over 600 million treatments without profit to the public sector, in more than 60 countries. Novartis believes that increasing access to medicines in developing countries is not just a matter of buying medicines and distributing them, it also requires bringing together good clinical practice, logistics management and other expertise to ensure a long-term sustainable approach to improving health. For more information visit www.malaria.novartis.com.

Disclaimer
This press release contains expressed or implied forward-looking statements, including statements that can be identified by terminology such as "potential," "goal," "could," "experimental," "commitment," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Group regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such statements. These expectations could be affected by, among other things, risks and factors referred to in the Risk Factors section of Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update it in the future.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in all these areas. In 2012, the Group achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 133,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at http://twitter.com/novartis.

References

[1] World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/
[2] http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12782. (live when embargo lifts)

# # #

Novartis Media Relations

Central media line : +41 61 324 2200
Anja von Treskow
Novartis Global Media Relations
+41 61 324 8137 (direct)
+41 79 367 4723 (mobile)
anja.von_treskow@novartis.com
Mariellen Gallagher
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
+1 617 871 7665 (direct)
+1 617 909 9137 (mobile)
mariellen.gallagher@novartis.com

e-mail: media.relations@novartis.com

For Novartis multimedia content, please visit www.thenewsmarket.com/Novartis
For questions about the site or required registration, please contact: journalisthelp@thenewsmarket.com

Novartis Investor Relations

Central phone: +41 61 324 7944
Samir Shah +41 61 324 7944 North America:
Pierre-Michel Bringer +41 61 324 1065 Stephen Rubino +1 862 778 8301
Thomas Hungerbuehler +41 61 324 8425 Jill Pozarek +1 212 830 2445
Isabella Zinck +41 61 324 7188 Susanne Donofrio +1 862 778 9257
e-mail: investor.relations@novartis.com

 

The information in the press releases on these pages was factually accurate on the date of publication. These press releases remain on Novartis website for historical purposes only. Novartis assumes no duty to update the information to reflect subsequent developments. Readers should not rely upon the information in these pages as current or accurate after their publication dates.