Malaria :: Sanofi fixed dose malaria drug ASAQ for Africa

Sanofi-aventis and the non-profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) announced that ASAQ, the new fixed-dose combination of artesunate (AS) and amodiaquine (AQ), will soon be available throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

ASAQ is the first drug developed by the FACT (Fixed-dose, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy) partners, managed by DNDi in partnership with sanofi-aventis.

One of 4 artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) that have been recommended by WHO since 2001 to thwart the emergence of resistances, the association of AS and AQ is now available in an innovative ASAQ fixed-dose formulation. It will be available in all markets, including public ones at a preferential price. To date, of the 41 sub-Saharan countries that have adopted ACTs in their malaria treatment protocols, 20 have chosen the combination of artesunate and amodiaquine.

ASAQ is an innovative product to treat malaria that is:

— Adapted to patient needs of all ages, a fixed combination of two well-known drugs, and following WHO recommendations

— Simple as a once-a-day regimen easy to manage for the prescriber and the patient

— Accessible as a non-patented drug, at an affordable price

— Quality in terms of galenical development, manufacturing and storage

“Sanofi-aventis is very proud to be involved in this innovative partnership” said Jean-Fran?ois Dehecq, Chairman of sanofi-aventis. “In manufacturing the drug in Morocco for use in sub-Saharan Africa and in applying for WHO prequalification we aim to ensure that ASAQ is made available to patients as soon as possible, while, at the same time, demonstrating adherence to international quality standards.”

For a full treatment cost of less than US $ 0.50 for children less than 5 years old, and a cost of less than US $ 1 for older children and adults, ASAQ will be available at a “no profit-no loss” price to public organizations of endemic countries, international institutions, NGOs, and programs promoting access to drugs in pharmacies.

“This new fixed-dose combination has been adapted to patients’ needs by being simple to use, more affordable and a quality product,” said Dr. Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director of DNDi. “The fact that ASAQ is made so affordable right from the start and is not under patent removes a significant barrier to its availability and should serve as a model for future drug development for neglected diseases.”

In Africa, where malaria consumes 25% of household incomes and kills 3,000 children every day, ASAQ offers a state-of-the-art galenical formulation with 4 presentations, 3 for children and one for adults. Patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria are treated in a simple, once-a-day dosing regimen over the course of three days.

“The world urgently needs more, affordable and easy-to-use fixed-dose treatment for malaria, especially for children,” remarked Dr Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Executive Director – Roll Back Malaria Partnership. “We welcome this new product developed in partnership.”

ASAQ is available under the name Artesunate-Amodiaquine Winthrop? (ASAQ) for public markets, and under the brand name Coarsucam? in private markets.

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