Photo credit: Gabe Bienczycki/PATH

MVI's R&D strategy supports the long-term goal of eradicating malaria.

We are targeting development of vaccines and biologics that would go beyond preventing illness to preventing infection by and transmission of the malaria parasite. Across our portfolio, we partner with academic and nonprofit research groups, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and US government agencies.

Looking to the next several years, MVI will focus on three key areas of work:

  • First-generation vaccines, including optimizing the use of and learning from the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01(RTS,S), and other similar CSP-based vaccines.
  • Next-generation vaccines targeting various stages of the Plasmodium parasite’s lifecycle to develop candidates with higher efficacy and improved durability.
  • Monoclonal antibodies targeting the circumsporozoite protein, and others to block transmission of the parasite.

First-generation vaccines

RTS,S is the world's first malaria vaccine, and is targeted for children living in areas of moderate to high Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission. Work is ongoing to maximize the impact of RTS,S in the context of comprehensive national malaria control plans, and to learn from RTS,S for the development of next-generation vaccines. Additional vaccines, likely to exhibit similar levels of efficacy and targeting the same stage of the parasite's life cycle, are also in developent. Access to multiple first-generation vaccines will help to ensure sufficient supply is available for all eligible countries who wish to add a malaria vaccine to their immunization programs.

Next-generation vaccines

There is an acknowledgment that vaccines with higher levels of efficacy and improved durability are needed. Such vaccines have the potential to provide greater impact in preventing disease and death in the most vulnerable. In addition, if they can successfully confer high-level protection in all age groups, they have potential to help accelerate parasite elimination. To this end, MVI is working on a variety of vaccine approaches, targeting different stages of the Plasmodium parasite's complex life cycle. These include vaccines targeting the circumsporozoite protein, approaches combatting the parasite when it reaches the blood stream, vaccines to block transmission of the parasite from humans to mosquitoes, and finally, combination vaccines targeting multiple life cycle stages.

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been shown to be effective tools in fighting infectious disease in young children, and research is ongoing to explore their utility in the fight against malaria. Both anti-infection and transmission blocking mAbs are being evaluated and initial clinical data are encouraging. These biologic tools are likely to have greatest utility in highly seasonal settings by providing potent, short-term protection. Anti-infection mAbs may also have utility in preventing malaria in pregnancy.