McGill University has licensed exclusive intellectual property rights related to cysteamine and related compounds to Raptor Pharmaceutical, for the potential treatment of parasitic diseases, including malaria.

The McGill patent covers the use of cysteamine and related compounds in the potential treatment of malaria together with artemisinin, the current standard of care. Researchers at McGill reported that in mouse models of malaria, the combination not only significantly reduced parasite levels in red blood cells but also improved survival rates compared to artemisinin alone.

“The challenge in developing malaria treatments has been the ongoing evolution of drug-resistant parasites that necessitate the search for new drug formulations,” said Dr. Philippe Gros, professor of biochemistry at McGill. “We were encouraged by the preclinical results so far that cysteamine and related compounds may serve to improve the effectiveness of artemisinin when the two compounds are used in combination.”

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June 18, 2012