Defeating malaria while reinforcing the value of diversity, equity and inclusion in our efforts
Medicines for Malaria Venture’s mission is to bring forward antimalarials to protect and cure the world’s most underserved populations, enhancing control efforts, leading to local and regional malaria elimination and contributing to the eventual eradication of the disease.
Achieving this mission requires working with our partners to address key unmet medical needs in prevention and clinical management, while simultaneously addressing long-standing challenges to equitable access to healthcare, ensuring the tools and technologies we develop are suitable for diverse populations, and ensuring inclusion in research and knowledge sharing.
This 23rd edition of our Annual Report highlights how, in 2022 and over the past years, we have worked tirelessly towards the goal of a malaria-free world, tackling these issues along the way.
Mr Alan Court
Chairman of the Board
Dr David Reddy
Extensive reach and impact
- In 2022, over 48 million children were protected by Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in 17 countries in Africa’s Sahel region.
- Cumulatively, some 640 million people have been effectively treated or protected by MMV products and 13.6 million deaths have been averted.
- In 2022 alone, 84 million people were effectively treated or protected and 235,500 deaths were averted compared to alternative treatments (1.9 million compared to no treatment).
Research for diverse groups and populations
- Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration approved single-dose tafenoquine to prevent Plasmodium vivax malaria relapse in children >2 years old, opening doors to further approvals in the region.
- Feasibility of deploying tafenoquine with point-of-care quantitative G6PD testing assessed in Brazil via the TRuST study. A policy decision on nationwide roll-out is expected in 2023.
- Single-dose ganaplacide/lumefantrine for uncomplicated malaria in adults and children (in development with Novartis) to progress to Phase III.
Accelerating equitable access and diversifying supply
- First African manufacturer (Kenya’s Universal Corporation Ltd) gained WHO prequalification for sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, the drug of choice for protecting pregnant women.
- Two vital MMV-supported products included in 2022 WHO Guidelines for Malaria: artemether-lumefantrine for use in first trimester pregnancy and Pyramax® (pyronaridine-artesunate) for uncomplicated malaria.
- MMV’s co-developed Pyramax and ganaplacide/lumefantrine recognized by WHO’s antimalarial drug resistance strategy as important in tackling the spread of resistance.
Promoting equity and inclusion
- MMV is pioneering the use of modelling and simulation in early development to prioritize drugs potentially suitable for pregnant and lactating individuals.
- First data on first-trimester exposure to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and pyronaridine-artesunate obtained through the Malaria in Mothers and Babies (MiMBa) programme’s pregnancy registry, established by MMV, KEMPRI and LSTM in Kenya and Burkina Faso.
- MMV-led consortia like PAMAfrica are promoting access to knowledge sharing and mutual capacity development.
Inclusive R&D through open innovation
- Global Health Priority Box, a new compound collection available to researchers worldwide free of charge, launched by MMVOpen.
- MMVSola – a free and publicly available open-source tool – awarded MMV Project of the Year for its promise in early dose prediction.
- In 2022, nearly 40% of both Global Health Priority Box recipients and participants in MMVSola user groups and trainings have been researchers in the Global South.
Gender equity and diversity at MMV and in our work
- MMV rated a ‘fast riser’ and ‘very high performer’ across 9 indicators in the 2022 Global Health 50/50 Gender and Health Index, placing it in the top 10% of the 147 global health organizations assessed.
- In a campaign to prioritize and expand intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, MMV connected with more than 300 organizations in Africa, resulting in more than 1,000 signatures supporting further scale-up and investment for this intervention.
Dianah Otiend – like millions of other women – lives with the real and constant fear of what malaria can do to her and her baby if she falls ill while pregnant.
Dianah, who lives in Homa Bay on the south shore of Lake Victoria in Kenya, experienced an expectant mother’s worst nightmare: she became ill with malaria twice while pregnant with her baby girl. “When a mother is sick with malaria,” she observed, “it affects the entire family, because a pregnant woman is carrying a life beside her life.”
Sarah Hamissou is 9 years old and lives in Damagaram Takaya, a village in the Zinder region of southern Niger. Like other children her age, she goes to school, plays with her friends and spends time with her family, including her 5-year-old brother Rayan and her mother Mariama.
All of that stopped last year when Sarah fell ill from malaria, suffering from a high fever and other symptoms. Mariama knows that malaria can be fatal if untreated, so she sought and received care for her daughter. But she also worries that Sarah and her other two children will fall ill again, like some 7 million others in Niger each year. In a country of only 25 million people, this disease takes an enormous toll, getting in the way of learning, playing and growing.
Raquel da Silva, pictured here with her son Camilinho, has lived in Manaus in Brazil’s Amazonas State since her childhood. Today she shares her home on the banks of the Rio Negro with her husband Camilo, their three children, her mother-in-law and her grandmother-in-law. On the weekends, she works in a restaurant.
As a mother of three, Raquel needs her energy to keep up with her children, but living in one of the most malaria-affected areas in the country she has been ill with the disease many times. She has lost track of how many times she has contracted malaria but estimates it must be at least a dozen. In 2022 alone, she got sick with malaria at least three times: twice with Plasmodium falciparum malaria and once with P. vivax malaria, which is more common in Latin America.
Since its foundation in 1999, MMV and partners have brought forward 15 quality medicines, which have saved around 13.6 million lives.
Our antimalarial portfolio is the largest ever assembled and comprises 13 compounds in clinical development targeting unmet medical needs, including medicines for children, pregnant women and people suffering from drug-resistant malaria. These antimalarials hold the promise of contributing to the global drive towards malaria eradication as well as the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals. Visit MMV’s website for our most updated pipeline of antimalarial drugs.
Issues & response
In 1977, fresh from my training and work as a pharmacist in the UK, I set up Emzor Chemists Limited, a small retail pharmacy shop in Lagos, Nigeria. Today, Emzor manufactures over 190 different products across 26 therapeutic classes, ranging from antimalarials, analgesics and antibiotics to vitamins, and employs over 2,000 people. However, Nigeria’s home-produced supply of quality medicines still remains inadequate, and we need to become less reliant on imports.
Developing the next generation of medicines
Progress against malaria has plateaued in recent years, and the global disease burden remains high, with some 247 million cases and 619,000 deaths annually. To get back on track, multiple tools and approaches will be needed, including new antimalarial medicines to help manage the emergence and spread of resistant parasites.
Leveraging data to maximize global health impact
Changes in the way potential new medicines are identified and optimized have dramatically increased both the number and the diversity of molecules in MMV’s early development portfolio. MMV and our partners are exploring new artificial intelligence (AI)-based approaches to better focus our efforts. We are also harnessing open innovation to advance global health priorities by giving scientists free access to data and materials, encouraging them to make results publicly available so they can build on one another’s work.
Making malaria prevention & treatment more equitable
In addition to new medicines, continued progress against malaria will require reaching vulnerable and underserved populations with suitable options for prevention and treatment. MMV is devoting particular attention to the needs of pregnant and lactating mothers and their babies, for whom options are currently limited.
Reducing the burden of relapsing malaria
The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which dominates in Africa, is responsible for the majority of malaria deaths worldwide. The parasite Plasmodium vivax, responsible for relapsing malaria, dominates in Central and South America, South and South-East Asia and the Horn of Africa, where it presents a different set of challenges. In these regions, often-neglected populations such as migrant workers, displaced people and indigenous communities are disproportionately affected.
Medicines for Malaria Venture receives sustained funding and support from government agencies, private foundations, international organizations, corporations, corporate foundations and private individuals.
These funds are used to finance MMV’s portfolio of R&D projects as well as specific, targeted access and delivery interventions that aim to make it easier for vulnerable populations to gain access to lifesaving medicines.
MMV is grateful for the support in 2022 from individual donors as well as the following institutional donors:
Editors: Elizabeth Poll, Akolade Omishope, Annette Dubois
Design: ComStone – Pierre Chassany
Digital report: Danielle Sessa, Bradley Castelli
Photos from top to bottom: Cover: children in a Zambian village (MMV); Intro: Alan Court & Dr David Reddy; Impact (Thomas Rueckle/MMV); Real-life stories: Sarah Hamissou (Hadjara Laouali Bella/CRS/MMV), Dianah Otiend (Marcus Hebbelmann/MMV), Raquel da Silva (Nathalie Brasil/MMV/PATH); Issues & response: African manufacturing (Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Nigeria), Developing the next generation of medicines (Maud Lugand/MMV), Leveraging data to maximize global health impact (Shutterstock – Gorodenkoff), Making malaria prevention & treatment more equitable (Thomas Rueckle/MMV), Reducing the burden of relapsing malaria (Nathalie Brasil/MMV/PATH).