Sanofi-Aventis' fixed-dose combination malaria drug ASAQ is as effective as Novartis' Coartem in treating people with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Sanofi reported Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Philadelphia.
ASAQ is composed of artemisinin and amodiaquine, and a full course will be available for less than $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. Sanofi said it also intends to produce a branded version of the drug, called Coarsucam, for the private market.
The private market version will be priced three to four times higher than the public price. The drug has been registered in 11 countries in Africa, and 10 million treatment courses are expected to be sold this year.
The trial, which was conducted from March 2006 to January 2007, involved 941 people, 433 of whom were children younger than age five, in Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali and Senegal, where both combination therapies are recommended by the World Health Organization.
The participants were divided into three treatment groups, and "tolerance proved satisfactory" in all three groups, the study said. The company said the drug's regimen of once-a-day for three days promotes treatment compliance. ASAQ was developed in conjunction with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation