|A photograph of a few of the inventors, sourced from the MMV website.|
As discussed by Akshat in his guest post over here, the main invention in Ranbaxy’s new combination anti-malarial drug is the new chemical entity (NCE) by the name arterolane. While reading the several news reports on Ranbaxy’s new FDC anti-malarial drug, Synriam, I was quite surprised that nobody in the Indian press even bothered to mention the names of the inventors. This is in sharp contrast to the recent nuclear missile tests and military satellite launches where there was widespread coverage of the scientists behind the successes. (A photograph of some of the inventors - sourced from the MMV website over here.)
|Image of Arterolane's chemical structure.|
Sourced from Wikipedia over here.
I therefore contacted Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) for some details on the research project which resulted in arterolane. The reason I contacted MMV and not Ranbaxy is because MMV owns the patent for arterolane in India – IN 245779.
In its reply, MMV informed me that the arterolane compound was one member of a new class of compounds being researched by MMV in conjunction with a team of researchers from the University of Nebraska, Monash University and the Swiss Tropical Institute. MMV has reportedly invested around $ 20 million in developing this particular compound which had been codenamed OZ277. MMV then confirms that in 2007 they opted out of the project and handed over further development of the compound to Ranbaxy . MMV also confirms that they issued Ranbaxy with a worldwide royalty free licence for the patent covering the arterolane compound. According to MMV, the subsequent clinical trials for this particular drug were headed by Professor Neena Valecha who is a highly respected malarial specialist, based in New Delhi. The results of this particular trial are yet to be published and MMV is reportedly looking forward to the review of the data by experts at the World Health Organization (WHO).
The team of inventors of this particular compound, as claimed by the Indian patent, are identified below:
1. Jonathan L. Vennerstrom, a U.S. citizen, College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA.
2. Yuanquing Tang, a Chinese citizen, College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA.
3. Jacques Chollet, a Swiss citizen, Swiss Tropical Institute, Socinstrasse, Switzerland.
4. Yuxiang Dong, a Chinese citizen, a Chinese citizen, College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA.
5. Hughes Matile, a Swiss citizen, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Switzerland.
6. Maniyan Padmanilayam, an Indian citizen, College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA.
7. William N. Charman, an Australian citizen, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, Australia.
The final group of inventors of the compound eventually claimed by the patent, is of course a subset of the larger group of 19 inventors who first identified this initial class of compounds in the study that was originally published in Nature and which can be accessed over here.
Also do read this interesting brochure published by Ranbaxy describing the story behind its efforts to deliver Synriam to the market place.