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Open Access Highly Accessed Case study

Innovative public-private partnerships to maximize the delivery of anti-malarial medicines: lessons learned from the ASAQ Winthrop experience

François Bompart1*, Jean-René Kiechel2, Robert Sebbag1 and Bernard Pecoul2

Author Affiliations

1 Sanofi-Aventis, Access to Medicines Department, 74- 82 Avenue Raspail 94255 Gentilly Cedex, France

2 Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, 15 Chemin Louis-Dunant,1202 Geneva, Switzerland

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:143  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-143

Published: 23 May 2011

Abstract

Background

This case study describes how a public-private partnership initiated to develop a new anti-malarial combination, ASAQ Winthrop, has evolved over time to address issues posed by its effective deployment in the field.

Case description

In 2002, DNDi created the FACT project to develop two fixed-dose combinations, artesunate-amodiaquine and artesunate-mefloquine, to meet the WHO anti-malarial treatment recommendations and international regulatory agencies approval standards. In 2002, Sanofi-aventis had started a development programme for a fixed-dose combination of artesunate and amodiaquine, to replace its co-blister combination. DNDi and sanofi-aventis joined forces in 2004, with the objective of developing within the shortest possible time frame a non-patented, affordable and easy to use fixed-dose combination of artesunate and amodiaquine adapted to the needs of patients, in particular, those of children. The partners developed Coarsucam®/Artesunate Amodiaquine Winthrop® ("ASAQ Winthrop") which was prequalified by the WHO in 2008. Additional partnerships have since been established by DNDi and sanofi-aventis to ensure: 1) the adoption of this new medicine by malaria-endemic countries, 2) its appropriate usage through a broad range of information tools, and 3) the monitoring of its safety and efficacy in the field through an innovative Risk Management Plan.

Discussion and evaluation

The partnership between DNDi and sanofi-aventis has enabled the development and pre-qualification of ASAQ Winthrop in a short timeframe. As a result of the multiple collaborations established by the two partners, as of late 2010, ASAQ Winthrop was registered in 30 sub-Saharan African countries and in India, with over 80 million treatments distributed in 21 countries. To date, 10 clinical studies, involving 3432 patients with ASAQ Winthrop were completed to document efficacy and safety issues identified in the Risk Management Plan.

Conclusions

The speed at which ASAQ Winthrop was adopted in the field shows that this drug fits the needs of patients and health authorities. It also demonstrates the power of partnerships that combine different sets of strengths and skills, and that evolve to include additional actors to meet new global health challenges for poverty-related diseases.