Cipla and DNDi announce the forthcoming launch of Artesunate + Mefloquine fixed-dose combination for P. falciparum malaria

[Mumbai – Geneva– 24th April 2012]
On the occasion of World Malaria Day, Cipla, one of the world’s leading generic pharmaceutical companies in collaboration with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) announced the forthcoming launch of the Fixed-Dose combination of ‘Artesunate (AS)1 + Mefloquine (MQ)2’ for the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. There were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria globally in 2010.

The combination of AS and MQ is proven to be a safe, rapid and reliably effective treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria and is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). A comparative study of all four WHO recommended treatments showed that a fixed-dose combination of ASMQ provided the greatest post-treatment suppression of malaria. Clinical efficacy of this fixed-dose combination has been established in various countries including India.Targeted as an option for treating resistant uncomplicated falciparum malaria, the new combination simplifies the patient’s treatment with a single dose of 1 or 2 tablets for 3 days, ensuring that the drugs are taken together and in correct proportions. A ‘2-in-1’ combination therapy improves the patient’s adherence to treatment, offering him a greater chance of cure and decreasing the risk of emerging parasitic resistance to treatment. This new fixed-dose combination treatment will be introduced in India under the brand name ‘MEFLIAM Plus’.

Through an innovative partnership supported and facilitated by DNDi in 2008, Cipla entered into an agreement with the Brazilian government-owned pharmaceutical company Farmanguinhos/Fiocruz to introduce the new fixed-dose combination in Asian and African countries. The product will be launched in India and Malaysia soon where it has already been registered.

The drugs for the fixed-dose combination (ASMQ) are being manufactured in Cipla’s world class manufacturing unit in Patalganga, which are approved by WHO-Geneva, USFDA, MHRA-UK and various other regulatory bodies.

Commenting on the forthcoming launch, Dr Y.K. Hamied, Chairman and Managing Director, Cipla Limited said, “We are extremely proud to partner with DNDi to launch the fixed-dose combination ‘ASMQ’ for anti-malarial treatment. We look forward to the launch of a potent option for treating resistant falciparum malaria. This reinforces Cipla’s commitment and its promise “None shall be denied” by making medicines accessible for neglected diseases like malaria.”

“We have successfully collaborated with Cipla since 2008 to develop a fixed-dose combination therapy for malaria in ASEAN countries. Having ASMQ available for Southeast Asian patients in need is the result of technology transfer from Farmanguinhos in Brazil to Cipla in India. Following registration in India and Malaysia, we now aim for this improved treatment to be made available to malaria victims throughout the region”, comments Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

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About DNDi:

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development organization working to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases, in particular sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, specific helminth infections, malaria, and paediatric HIV. DNDi was established in 2003 by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) of Brazil, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and the Pasteur Institute of France. The Special Programme for Tropical Disease Research (WHO/TDR) serves as permanent observer.

Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered six new treatments for neglected patients: two fixed-dose antimalarials (ASAQ and ASMQ), nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy (NECT) for late-stage sleeping sickness, sodium stibogluconate and paromomycin (SSG&PM) combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis in Africa, a set of combination therapies for visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, and a paediatric dosage form of benznidazole for Chagas disease.

DNDi has helped establish three clinical research platforms: Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform (LEAP) in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda; the HAT Platform based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness; and the Chagas Clinical Research Platform in Latin America. Strong regional networks such as these help strengthen research and treatment-implementation capacity in neglected disease-endemic countries.

www.dndi.org

About Cipla:

Cipla laid foundations for the Indian pharmaceutical industry back in 1935 with the vision to make India self-reliant in healthcare. Over the years Cipla has emerged as one of the most respected names not just in India but worldwide. Its state of the art R&D centre has given the country and the world many firsts. This includes the revolutionary AIDS cocktail for less than a dollar a day. With over 34 manufacturing units across the country, Cipla manufactures over 2000 products in 65 therapies.

With a turnover of over US $ 1.2 billion, Cipla serves doctors and patients in over 183 countries. It has earned a name for maintaining one global standard across all its products and services. Cipla continues to support, improve and save millions of lives with its high-quality drugs and innovative devices. (www.cipla.com)

Media Contact:

Jaisingh Balakrishnan / Corporate Communications / Cipla Limited / Mobile: +91-9833836185

Violaine Dällenbach / Press & Communications Manager / DNDi / Tel: +41 22 906 92 47 / Mobile: +41 79 424 14 74.