Titan Pharma, Walter Reed collaborating in antimalarial implants

Titan Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TTNP) has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Southwest Research Institute to evaluate development of ProNeura-based implants for a long-term regimen in the prevention of malaria.

"The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has been involved with testing virtually every drug approved by the FDA for protection against malaria, and we are excited to be collaborating with the organization on this important endeavor," Sunil Bhonsle, president and CEO of Titan, said in a statement.

"ProNeura's ability to provide long-term, continuous drug delivery could represent an important advance over current approved daily dosed antimalarial products," he added.

Initial non-clinical studies have demonstrated preliminary proof-of-concept and results were recently presented at the 2017 Asia Pacific Military Health Exchange in Singapore.

ProNeura implants containing piperaquine, an effective compound against blood- stage parasites, were formulated at Southwest and tested at Walter Reed in a mouse model infected with Plasmodium berghei, to characterize the pharmacokinetic (PK) release profile and long-term prophylactic efficacy.

Piperaquine implants demonstrated sustained drug release for six weeks of PK analysis, and exhibited sufficient suppression of early blood-stage malaria in infected mice, as assessed by in vivo imaging. Complete protection from infection with Plasmodium berghei parasites was demonstrated for up to eight weeks post-implantation in mice.

In addition, the sustained release of other antimalarial drugs, atovaquone and doxycycline, were demonstrated in vivo with their respective ProNeura-based implants.