The company operates under the direction of the Managing Director, Dr David Hutchinson. With its focus on antimalarial chemotherapy, Dr Hutchinson brings a wealth of experience gained from the successful development of atovaquone and proguanil (Malarone) as the first antimalarial to have originated from the pharmaceutical industry in over thirty years.
Qualifying in medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London in 1962 with the degree of MB.BS, he gained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1971. He joined the Wellcome Research Laboratories in 1974 as a Clinical Research Physician with responsibility for anti-parasitic chemotherapy, reflecting the Company’s longstanding interest in developing effective, safe and affordable treatments for protozoal and helminthic infections. His major contribution was in identifying rapid metabolic degradation as the cause of the failure of the hydroxynaphthoquinones when administered to human subjects leading to the synthesis of atoavquone and its subsequent development in combination with proguanil.
Following the merger of the Wellcome Foundation and GlaxoSmithKIine, he acted as Consultant to the newly formed company of GlaxoWellcome during the international registration of Malarone, co-authoring a number of key publications at the same time.
He has been at the forefront of the clinical development of fosmidomycin since its inception as a candidate antimalarial in 1999 while maintaining an active role in clinical medicine.
FO: David - I understand that you are confident in having found a new therapy for malaria. Can you give me some background on this?
DH: Yes, indeed. The drug is called fosmidomycin. It results in a 100% cure rate in combination with a second drug called piperaquine in just 3 days of treatment. Fosmidomycin works quite differently from other antimalarials. It specifically kills the malaria parasites and has no effect on the human body.
FO: Are you saying that it doesn’t have serious side effects like other antimalarials?
DH: Exactly, this means it is very well tolerated, because it has no target in the human body. It is particularly suitable for children who suffer heavily not only from the disease, but also from the side effects of malaria drugs. More than two thirds of all malaria deaths occur in children under 5 years.
FO: Couldn’t fosmidomycin then be the key to cure malaria-infected children?
DH: That is exactly our focus. Children are the most severely affected victims of malaria. And we have the next generation malaria therapy that is ideal to cure children.
FO: So your antimalarial is for children only?
DH: Absolutely not. What is well tolerated by children is equally well tolerated by adults. And we have cured not only the children, but also all adult patients that had been enrolled in the clinical trial of our fosmidomycin-piperaquine combination therapy.
FO: What about severe malaria, the most life-threatening stage of the disease?
DH: Especially children with severe malaria are in such a bad shape that they are unable to swallow tablets or capsules. In contrast to many other drugs, fosmidomycin can y be administered by injection into a vein in addition to being given orally as capsules.
FO: Besides the problem of curing children – why is there a need for next generation malaria drugs?
DH: Spreading resistance to the current first line treatments poses a devastating threat and puts millions of lives at risk. It is here that fosmidomycin-based therapies would step in.
FO: I understand that DMG Deutsche Malaria GmbH is a privately funded startup based in Hamburg. Are you looking for further financial resources?
DH: We are looking for roughly 15 million dollars to bring our children’s life-saving malaria therapy to the market. We are convinced to be able to achieve attractive returns for investors.
FO: Thank you!