(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the World Health Organization (WHO) malaria infects approximately 250 million people per year throughout the developing world and results in a grave loss of life of at least 880,000 per year. The region most severely afflicted is Sub-Saharan Africa, but the disease is also present in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and some parts of Europe.
Pfizer recognizes the important role a pharmaceutical company plays in the global fight against malaria. In conjunction with World Malaria Day - “Counting Malaria Out” - on April 25, Pfizer commemorates the work being done not only by governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), but by its own employees who have worked diligently over the last 25 years to combat the disease and develop medicines for more effective treatment. Pfizer’s strategy is closely aligned with the interventions in the WHOs Global Malaria Action Plan as well as to the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Pfizer’s existing portfolio of malaria-fighting treatments includes: Camoquin-Plus® (Artesunate-Amodiaquine) for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria and Metakelfin®, which covers treatment for pregnant women. “Pfizer is uniquely positioned on the African continent with a solid medical and commercial organization, including a manufacturing and distribution center in Dakar, Senegal, which produces Camoquin-Plus®,” said Guy Lallemand, regional president for Africa & Middle East in Pfizer’s Emerging Markets Business Unit. “The Dakar plant plays a vital role in the malaria treatment chain and the distribution center ensures the supply of all Pfizer products registered and sold in West Africa.”
“Although there have been significant advancements over the last five years, including new money, medicines and increased energy towards fighting the disease, critical gaps still exist in treating specific population groups and delivering medicines,” stated Dr. Sam Azoulay, senior vice president, Medical & Development in Pfizer’s Emerging Markets Business Unit. “Pfizer has created a new malaria platform to address these gaps through its portfolio of products, scientific efforts, and licensing activities. We expect this redefined focus to advance our ongoing efforts and to support the global fight against malaria.”
As reported in December 2008, Pfizer Inc entered into a license and supply agreement with sigma-tau, a privately owned Italian pharmaceutical company, to market Eurartesim™ (dihydroartemisinin + piperaquine), a novel fixed dose once-daily artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), in Africa. This Phase III product candidate aims to treat uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in adults and children, while reducing the potential for re-infection. The product candidate, developed jointly by Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and sigma-tau, is expected be filed for registration with the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) by the third quarter of 2009, with subsequent filing in Africa.
This week Pfizer announced its collaboration with MMV to advance international research efforts in the fight against malaria. MMV will have access to the Pfizer library of chemical entities to screen approximately 200,000 compounds that have the potential to be developed into new treatments against P. falciparum, the parasite that causes acute malaria, including multi-drug resistant strains. “This new partnership brings our valuable library of novel chemical entities to the disease experts at the MMV, with the potential to create exciting new starting points for novel discovery programs against this significant health challenge,” said Dr. Manos Perros, chief scientific officer, Antivirals, Pfizer Global Research & Development. “Our partnership with MMV expands on the progress we have made in this area through our collaborations with other NGOs and will further aid in the search for drugs with the potential to treat malaria.”
Pfizer also has an ongoing azithromycin/chloroquine (AZ/CQ) clinical program. Pfizer has identified that the greatest need for this combination is for intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is the most common cause of preventable infant and maternal deaths in Africa with some 200,000 and 10,000 deaths per year, respectively, according to the WHO. In fact, approximately 36 million pregnant women are at risk in endemic areas in Africa alone. Pfizer expects to work with several research institutes to move the AZ/CQ clinical program forward.
Pfizer Corporate Responsibility efforts support the fight against malaria through its “Mobilize Against Malaria” initiative and expert contributions by employees who are part of the Global Health Fellows program. “Mobilize Against Malaria is a five-year, three-country initiative designed to close the gap on malaria treatment and education in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal, with a commitment of USD 15 million,” according to Caroline Roan, vice president of Corporate Responsibility. “Pfizer is working with leading NGOs on the ground and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the targeted countries to improve access to prompt and effective treatment by improving malaria symptom recognition, treatment and referral through robust training, education and awareness efforts.”
Pfizer is a partner in the fight against this ravaging disease and continues to work diligently with partners around the globe. “We recognize that there are many individuals and organizations with varying expertise involved in the fight against malaria and we commend them for their efforts,” said Jean-Michel Halfon, president & general manager of Pfizer’s Emerging Markets Business Unit. “However, we cannot stop there. Instead it is important that we align our activities even closer to make a meaningful impact. Pfizer will carry on as a partner in the fight against malaria and will strive to continue to deliver effective and affordable treatment to individuals afflicted by the disease in the developing world.”
Pfizer Inc: Working together for a healthier world™
Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's premier biopharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We discover, develop, manufacture and deliver quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. We also partner with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, more than 80,000 colleagues in more than 90 countries work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.
DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The information contained in this release is as of April 24, 2009. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.
This release contains forward-looking information that involves substantial risks and uncertainties about certain antimalarial product candidates. Such risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding whether and when to approve any drug applications that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect their availability or commercial potential; and competitive developments. A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 and in its reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.
Marco Winkler, 212-733-9313