DesignMedix Awarded $3 Million to Develop Low-Cost, Safe Malaria Drug
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
DesignMedix, Inc., a biotech startup with ties to Portland State University, received a grant for almost $3 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue development and manufacture of a new anti-malarial drug.
“Each year, over 600,000 children under the age of five die of malaria,” said Dr. Sandra Shotwell, president and COO of DesignMedix. “Our new drug will provide another weapon to target this deadly disease, which kills more young children than any other.”
The drug in development is a low cost cure for drug-resistant malaria that is as safe as chloroquine, a frontline drug used for many years until rendered ineffective by drug resistance. Malaria drug resistance – widespread in Africa and Asia – is created by a mutation that causes rapid transport of the drug out of the malaria cells, rendering the drug ineffective. The DesignMedix technology approach creates a new drug that inhibits the transport and overcomes the drug resistance.