Eisai identified GWT1 as a target molecule in a development project for anti-fungals. Through joint research with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), it was found that the GWT1 protein is an enzyme which catalyzes acyl group transfer reaction, an essential part of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) biosynthesis pathways. Some of these antifungal candidates were then found to show antimalarial activity through the joint research with Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University. Malaria research techniques, including the in vitro culture method and the animal experimental model, were transferred to Eisai from Kitasato Institute for further screening of antimalarial compounds in 2010.
In January, 2012, Eisai signed the material transfer agreement with Medicines for Malaria Venture in Switzerland for biological studies of antimalarial lead compounds.
Eisai and AIST successfully discovered a novel drug target in GPI biosynthesis pathway. Assays in Osaka University suggested the possibility of our anti-fungal compounds also acting on malaria pathogens with the same mechanisms. These results provided encouragement to start the current antimalarial project.
|Location||East Asia and Pacific, West Africa|