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Pfizer, Sigma-Tau announce agreement to market malaria drug


NEW YORK Two drug makers—one American and one Italian—announced a license and supply agreement Tuesday under which they will market a new treatment for malaria in Africa.

Pfizer and Sigma-Tau Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite said that pending regulatory submissions and approvals, they will market the drug, Eurartesim (dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine), which they describe as a novel, fixed-dose artimisinin-based combination therapy. The drug, which Sigma-Tau developed with Medicines for Malaria Venture, is in phase 3 clinical trials, and the companies expect to file for regulatory approval with the Food and Drug Administration next year.

The World Health Organization recommends that all uncomplicated malaria be treated with ACTs to reduce drug resistance. The organization estimates that 881,000 people died of malaria in 2006, with more than 90 percent of those deaths occurring in Africa.

“Pfizer is excited about our collaboration with Sigma-Tau,” Pfizer president and general manager for emerging markets Jean-Michel Halfon said in a statement. “The effective treatment of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, is an essential need for patients in many countries in Africa and around the world.”

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