Ranbaxy claims big success with mid-stage malaria drug

While traditional therapies for treating malaria have been steadily losing steam, India's Ranbaxy says that it has nailed positive mid-stage data for a new drug that promises to open a whole new front against the disease.

Altogether, researchers tested arterolane on 230 people infected with the most lethal strain of malaria in India, Thailand and Tanzania. The therapy quelled the disease in 72 percent of them after 28 days, offering a similar efficacy profile that had been enjoyed by drugs derived from artemisinin. Health officials have been alarmed to see that some groups of patients respond at a far slower pace to the artemisinin class, raising the need for new treatments. They also want a drug that can be made much faster and more efficiently, which appears to be the case with arterolane.

"There is an urgent need to develop new alternative drugs," writes Neena Valecha and colleagues. "A fully synthetic drug such as arterolane, which has an activity profile similar to that of the artemisinins, provides an important potential in such an endeavor."

The research team also found that the disease has a tendency to reappear in patients, raising the need to combine arterolane with a slower-acting therapy that can deliver the one-two punch needed to cure patients.

- here's the Bloomberg article