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Fresh funds mobilised by the GHIT Fund to further support the PfRipr5 malaria vaccine candidate

October 2, 2023


In a significant stride toward combatting malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund will provide additional funds to further support the development of the PfRipr5 blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate. The funding announcement comes as a beacon of hope in the fight against infectious diseases that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations.


Malaria and NTDs: A Global Health Challenge

Malaria, a devastating infectious parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitos, continues to afflict approximately 250 million people annually, claiming the lives of roughly 620,000 individuals in 2021 alone. Meanwhile, NTDs, a group of 20 treatable diseases, impact 1.6 billion individuals globally, mainly in low-income nations. These diseases receive inadequate research and funding, prompting the GHIT Fund to address this gap.


Next-Generation Malaria Vaccine

Given the limitations of the currently most advanced malaria vaccine candidate (RTS,S, or Mosquirix), including low efficacy, a more effective second-generation malaria vaccine is needed that will probably encompass a multi-stage and multi-antigen approach, targeting several stages of the Plasmodium falciparum life cycle.


A groundbreaking initiative spearheaded by Ehime University (Japan), Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI), and the Portuguese research institution Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica (iBET) will receive an investment of approximately 573 million yen (US$3.9 million).


This project builds on the success of the previous GHIT-funded T2018-151 project and aims to further advance the development of a new asexual blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate, based on the PfRipr5 protein of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, discovered by researchers in Ehime University in collaboration with Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., Japan.


The main objectives are to:

1. Establish a manufacturing process for PfRipr5 compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP)

2. Produce PfRipr5 for a safety-toxicology study

3. Perform a safety-toxicology study to evaluate PfRipr5 in formulation with the SA-1 adjuvant

4. Prepare the dossier for a first-in-human phase I/IIa clinical trial


If successful, the PfRipr5-PD project results will greatly contribute to the global efforts to reduce the burden of malaria in low- and middle-income countries.


 

Read the press release from GHIT Fund here: https://www.ghitfund.org/newsroom/press/detail/401/en

 

Note: Exchange rates mentioned in this article are based on the approximate rate on August 31, 2023, with 1 USD equaling JPY146.20.

References:

1. [World Health Organization (WHO) - Malaria] (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria)

2. [World Health Organization (WHO) - Neglected Tropical Diseases] (https://www.who.int/health-topics/neglected-tropical-diseases)


Photo credit: Lucio Patone on Unsplash


 

This project has received funding from Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT).

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