Fighting Malaria with New Drugs

Partnership to fight malaria with new medicines: Exploratory research targeting GWT1

Exploratory Research Targeting GWT1 for Treatment of Malaria

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.


  • Eisai

    Service Providers
    Japan | Staff size: 10,000+

    Eisai Co., Ltd. is a Japan-based company mainly engaged in the manufacturing and sale of pharmaceutical products. The Company operates in two business segments. The Pharmaceutical segment is...

  • Kitasato Institute

    Japan | Staff size: 501-1000

    Kitasato Institute was established in 2008 through the integration of the former Kitasato Institute and Kitasato University. It was originally founded in 1914 by Dr Shibasaburo Kitasato as...

  • Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

    Foundation, Institute
    United States | Staff size: Unknown

    MMV, a not-for-profit public-private partnership, was established as a foundation in Switzerland. It was created to discover, develop and deliver new, effective and affordable drugs for malaria...

  • Osaka University

    Staff size: 501-1000

    Osaka University, or Handai, is a national university located in Osaka, Japan. It is the sixth oldest university in Japan as the Osaka Prefectural Medical College, and one of Japan's National...

More Resources

Key Information

LocationEast Asia and Pacific, West Africa
  • Start Date 2006