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Fosun Pharma’s Global Initiative Receives 500 Million JPY Investment from GHIT Fund to Combat Malaria

In a groundbreaking move, the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), based in Japan, has pledged approximately US$3.3 million (500 million JPY) to support Fosun Pharma’s global multicenter Phase III clinical trial project. The initiative, led by Fosun Pharma, aims to develop a triple artemisinin combination drug (Artemether-Lumefantrine-Amodiaquine fixed-dose formulation) to combat malaria in Africa and Southeast Asia. This collaboration involves key partners such as Marubeni, the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), marking the first time GHIT Fund has invested in a research project led by a Chinese pharmaceutical company.

The artemisinin partial resistance (ART-R) observed in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and some African countries poses a significant threat. The new drug candidate is expected to address this challenge, offering a potential breakthrough in the fight against malaria. Importantly, the project includes the development of a child-friendly version of the drug, recognizing that the majority of malaria cases occur in children.

Malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, affects around 250 million people annually, causing approximately 620,000 deaths in 2023. The African region bears a staggering 95% of the global malaria burden, with children under the age of 5 accounting for 80% of malaria-related deaths in this region. GHIT Fund’s investment reflects its commitment to supporting innovative drug development to combat neglected infectious diseases globally.

Collaborative Efforts and Significance of the Investment

Fosun Pharma’s CEO, Wen Deyong, expressed delight in collaborating with GHIT Fund to advance the clinical research on this antimalarial innovator drug. The partnership aims to accelerate the drug’s launch, addressing the urgent threat of artemisinin partial resistance and partner drug resistance of Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Fosun Pharma is dedicated to enhancing the accessibility and affordability of antimalarial drugs through continuous innovation and global operational capabilities.

Dr. Osamu Kunii, CEO of the GHIT Fund, emphasized the importance of collaboration with Marubeni and Fosun Pharma as new product development partners. The investment signifies a crucial step in the late-phase clinical trials of antimalarial drugs, aiming to advance commercialization and reduce the burden of malaria, particularly among young children.

Fosun Pharma’s Contributions to Global Malaria Prevention

Fosun Pharma’s independently developed artemisinin-based antimalarial medicines have played a pivotal role in global malaria prevention and control. The company’s flagship product, Artesun®, has been the first-line treatment for severe malaria recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2011. It has been used to treat over 60 million patients worldwide, predominantly African children under five years old.

In June 2023, Fosun Pharma achieved a significant milestone with the prequalification of its second-generation artesunate for injection, Argesun®, by the WHO. This injectable artesunate, with a single solvent system, enhances clinical convenience, particularly in remote areas with limited medical infrastructure. Argesun® has been registered and marketed in 18 countries, further improving the accessibility of high-quality antimalarial innovator drugs in Africa.

Fosun Pharma’s commitment to innovation extends to the development of SPAQ-CO® Disp, a preventive solution for malaria in children. Prequalified by WHO in August 2018, this product has been a cornerstone of Fosun Pharma’s efforts in community-oriented projects to popularize malaria prevention knowledge in 14 malaria-endemic countries in Africa. The “Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Program,” utilizing SPAQ-CO® Disp as the core drug, has benefited over 245 million children in Africa by June 2023, significantly reducing malaria incidence in children under five years old.

Aiming for a Malaria-Free World

As an innovation-driven global pharmaceutical and health industry group, Fosun Pharma remains committed to providing comprehensive solutions for malaria patients, especially children, from treatment to prevention. The collaborative efforts with GHIT Fund, Marubeni, and other partners underscore the collective commitment to advancing medical research and addressing critical global health challenges.

The investment from GHIT Fund not only fuels the development of a promising antimalarial drug but also signifies a significant step towards achieving a malaria-free world. The joint initiative aligns with the broader mission of organizations like GHIT Fund and Fosun Pharma to pioneer innovative solutions, ensuring that accessible and affordable antimalarial drugs reach those who need them most. This collaboration stands as a beacon of hope in the ongoing fight against malaria, offering prospects for a healthier future for millions worldwide.


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.

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