European and Japanese funders have formed an exciting new partnership to complete the development of a paediatric schistosomiasis drug formulation.
Schistosomiasis is a highly prevalent parasitic disease in sub-Saharan Africa, which can cause disabling conditions such as anaemia, malnutrition, and impaired childhood development.
Although an effective treatment—praziquantel tablets— is available, these are difficult for young children to swallow, have an unpleasant bitter taste, and cannot be administered by crushing the tablet.
The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium (PPC) is a public-private partnership that was established in 2012 with the aim of developing, registering and making accessible a new paediatric orally disintegrating tablet formulation of praziquantel suitable for preschool-aged children.
The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership and The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund of Japan announced a new partnership on 8 December 2017, that will see them contribute €5.21 million to the PPC for the development of the paediatric praziquantel formulation.
The contribution will help fund the phase III clinical trial of the drug in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire, which is sponsored by Merck KGaA and conducted by the PPC. This is the final stage of the clinical trial before the drug is licensed for use and it is hoped that the drug will be available in 2020.
Dr Sarah Nogaro, Programme Advisor at the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative who is supporting the work of the PPC, says: “This is really exciting news. Not only is this funding partnership the first of its kind, it will provide us with the essential support needed to take the phase III clinical trial through to completion and finally be able to provide preschool-age children with treatment for schistosomiasis.”
The full press release with further information about the partnership and clinical trial can be found here.
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