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Unitaid awards Medincell US$6m to fight malaria

Global health agency Unitaid has awarded French Medincell Corp (Jacou) an extension grant of up to US$ 6 million over three years to fund thesatety testing of its malaria vaccine mdc-STM.

The funding commitment for MedinCell Corp’es reformulation of the antipararsitic ivermectin comes after great progress in malaria vaccines: The R21/Matrix-M vaccine from Oxford University, which was previously approved in Ghana iast year, achieved a 75% protective effect in Phase III tests on children. Unitaid now awarded Medincell Corp an extension grant of up to US$ 6m until 2026 to fund clinical Phase 1 testing to the company’s long-acting injectable mdc-STM candidate.

mdc-STM is an investigational three-month active injectable formulation of ivermectin that is embedded into Medincell’s co-polymers for continious release of the drug (BEPO® technology). A previous grant of $6.4 million was awarded in March 2020 by Unitaid to fund the formulation research phase and preclinical activities of the program conducted by Medincell and the project consortium members, IRD, IRSS and CIRDES.

Ivermectin eliminates parasites and insects like mosquitoes upon biting individuals or animals that have been administered it by blocking chloride channels in the organisms’ muscles and nerves. The drug does not protect against the malaria pathogen P. falciparum directly, but it could reduce the number of mosquitoes lowering the risk of transmission of malaria, particularly in children.