Leishmaniasis Translation


  • Target disease: VL
  • Partners (since project start): Institute of Endemic Disease, Khartoum University, Sudan; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya; Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen, The Netherlands; Kacheliba District Hospital, Kenya; The Netherlands Cancer Institute, the Netherlands; Makerere University, Uganda; Uppsala University, Sweden; Amudat Hospital, Uganda; Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform (LEAP); Utrecht University, The Netherlands; BaseCon, Denmark; SGS, Belgium; PhinC, France; Centres d’Investigation Clinique des Centres Hospitaliers Universitaires de Clermont-Ferrand, Lille et Bichat-Claude Bernard, France; Cardiabase (Banook group), France; Optimed, France; UBC, Switzerland; Sanofi-Chinoin, Hungary; Aptuit, Italy.
  • Project Start: 2013
  • Funding (since project start): Department for International Development (DFID), UK; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), the Netherlands;  European Union – Specific International Scientific Cooperation Activities (FP7); Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF through KfW), Germany; Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors without Borders, International; Medicor Foundation, Liechtenstein; Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Spain; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland; Other private foundations and individuals.
  • Project status: Completed


Overall Objective:

  • Develop an oral-only therapy for the treatment of VL with a combination of fexinidazole and miltefosine.


Fexinidazole has shown potent activity against L. donovani in vitro and in vivo in a VL mouse model, and studies in healthy volunteers found it to be safe when given as a single dose or as repeated dosing after 14 days. Furthermore, fexinidazole is in late stage development for HAT with a good safety profile.

A Phase II proof-of-concept study initiated in 2013 assessed the safety and efficacy of fexinidazole for the treatment of primary VL adult patients in Sudan, and enrolled 14 patients. All patients showed clinical improvement during treatment and the majority had parasite clearance (by microscopy) at the end of treatment. Three patients remained cured until 6 months follow-up, however the response was not sustained in other patients and relapses were observed. The study was interrupted in 2014 as it failed to show conclusive efficacy in the majority of patients. Miltefosine is the only other oral drug currently available and will be evaluated in combination with fexinidazole in Eastern Africa. A previous study carried out in Africa indicated miltefosine was underdosed in children as compared to adults, and that dose adjustment was required. A study to assess safety and efficacy of miltefosine using an allometric dosing in children with VL was initiated in Kenya and Uganda in June 2015, recruitment completed in September, and patient follow up will end in 2016. As the ultimate goal is to develop a combination of fexinidazole and miltefosine, a drug-drug interaction study in normal healthy volunteers to assess the pharmacokinetics and safety of the concomitant administration of fexinidazole and miltefosine has been prepared.

Last update: August 2016