MMV will fund trials with Anacor’s lead boron-based malaria therapeutic candidate AN3661.

Anacor Pharmaceuticals and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have extended an existing malaria therapeutics agreement to secure funding for early clinical development of Anacor’s boron-based malaria drug, AN3661. The original collaboration, signed in April 2010, was focused on applying Anacor’s boron chemistry to identify new malaria treatments.

In March this year the organizations inked a development agreement for lead oral candidate AN3661, and MMV agreed to fund preclinical studies. Under terms of the expanded deal, MMV will provide funding to allow completion of Phase I clinical trials and a human proof-of concept study in malaria patients.

“AN3661 appears to be acting through a novel mechanism of action, having shown potent activity against the Plasmodium falciparum parasites, which are known to have resistance to a number of front-line antimalarial drugs,” comments David Perry, CEO at Anacor.

Anacor is focused on developing small molecule therapeutics for a range of diseases, based on its boron chemistry platform. The firm has five products in clinical trials. Lead candidate, AN2690, is a topical antifungal agent in Phase III development for the treatment of onychomycosis. AN2728 is a topical anti-inflammatory candidate that has completed Phase II studies for the treatment of psoriasis, and is also in Phase II development for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. In June Anacor reported positive preliminary results from a Phase IIb study evaluating AN2728 in the treatment of mild-to-moderate plaque-type psoriasis. Seven previous studies had in addition demonstrated statistically significant efficacy of the drug, and Anacor is planning Phase III studies.

AN2898 is a topical anti-inflammatory candidate currently in Phase I/II development for the treatment of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, while AN2718 is a topical antifungal agent that has completed Phase I studies for the treatment of onychomycosis and fungal skin infections.

Anacor’s partnered product, GSK ‘052 (formerly AN3365), is a systemic antibiotic for the treatment of Gram-negative infections, which has been developed in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The firm teamed up with GSK in 2007 for an initially six-year program to discover, develop, and commercialize boron-based systemic anti-infectives. Following Anacor’s completion of the Phase I trial, GSK exercised its option to exclusively license GSK ‘052 in July 2010, and is now responsible for further development of and commercialization of the drug. In June 2011 the firm initiated two separate Phase IIb trials evaluating GSK ‘052 in complicated urinary tract infections and complicated intra-abdominal infections.

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