Sanofi (EURONEXT, SAN and NYSE;SNY) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), an independent not-for-profit foundation, announce that on the occasion of World Malaria Day, more than 200 million treatments of ASAQ Winthrop have been distributed in Africa since the medication became available in 2007.
Malaria is the most common and also the most deadly parasitic disease in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 219 million cases and 660,000 deaths were reported in 2010, 90% of them in Africa. The impact of malaria also weighs heavily on the economies of families and the affected countries. Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria alone would largely help reduce the intensity of the disease, prevent it from becoming deadly, and reduce its transmission. Since 2001, the WHO recommends the use of Artemisinin based Combination Therapy: ACT for the treatment of malaria, preferably as fixed-dose combinations.
In a genuine therapeutic and industrial innovation, the un-patented ASAQ Winthrop® treatment combines artesunate and amodiaquine in a fixed-dose combination, enabling better adherence to
treatment and reducing the risk of resistance development by avoiding selective use of one of the components.
Developed through an innovative partnership between DNDi and Sanofi, and manufactured by Sanofi in its Zenata plant in Morocco, ASAQ Winthrop® is now available in most malaria-affected countries, and 90% available in Africa. It is easy to use (once-a-day dose) and is available at a price of less than US$1 for adults and $0.50 for children, for three-day treatment.
“Above all, this project demonstrates what can be achieved by working together. Although very different entities, an NGO and a healthcare company worked towards the common goal of developing an effective malaria drug to meet the needs of the world’s poorest populations,” said Dr. Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi. “With the large distribution of ASAQ Winthrop® in Africa, we are pleased that many patients now have access to this treatment, even in the most remote areas.”
ASAQ Winthrop® is now available in 32 countries, 30 of them in Africa. The rapid implementation of ASAQ on the African continent was facilitated by WHO prequalifying the treatment in 2008 – a first for an ACT.
“Our Access to Medicines program is designed to tailor our strategy and our business model to specific markets in which we make neither a loss nor a profit,” said Dr. Robert Sebbag, Vice President, Access to Medicines at Sanofi. “The treatment itself is only part of the solution; we also need to inform, communicate, and educate, at every level of the health pyramid from specialists, community workers and families to mothers and children.”
ASAQ Winthrop® is involved in an unparalleled pharmacovigilance program in Africa, benefiting from the same standards as those applied in the developed world for monitoring purposes. Sanofi is also developing training activities and educational information on malaria, especially on how it is transmitted and how it can be prevented in children. Since 2008, the “Schoolchildren against Malaria” program and its television version helped raise awareness among approximately three million children in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Burkina Faso. To participate in the fight against development of resistance to treatment, Sanofi decided in 2012 to share all the data collected during its clinical trials with the WWARN (WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network).
About Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
DNDi is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization working to deliver new treatments for the most neglected diseases, in particular sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, and paediatric HIV. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered six treatments: 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 was established in 2003 by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Indian Council of Medical Research, Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and Institut Pasteur in France, with the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) as a permanent observer.
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
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