11:28 AM

Bayer and Swiss TPH to develop treatment against soil-transmitted helminths

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Helminth infections affect poorest and most deprived communities / More than 1.5 billion people infected with at least one soil-transmitted helminth worldwide

Berlin, July 20, 2023 – Bayer and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) will cooperate in the clinical development of the compound emodepside for treating humans infected with soil-transmitted helminths. This follows the encouraging results of a Phase II study of emodepside performed by Swiss TPH and its partners in Tanzania in patients with whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworm (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus) infections, published on May 18, 2023, in the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed good efficacy in patients.

“Bayer is committed to fight neglected tropical diseases”, said Christian Rommel, Head of Research and Development and Member of the Executive Committee at Bayer Pharmaceuticals. “The development of emodepside with the team at Swiss TPH for patients who have been infected with soil-transmitted helminths is an example of how we join forces to discover new treatments for patients suffering from infections with soil-transmitted helminths.”

Emodepside is an anthelmintic substance that is effective against several gastrointestinal nematodes in domestic animals but is not yet approved for human use. Researchers from Swiss TPH and partners in Tanzania showed its efficacy in two Phase II studies in humans infected with whipworm and hookworm, conducted on the island of Pemba.

In the studies, emodepside showed high cure rates for all soil-transmitted helminths investigated. The lowest dose tested, 5 mg of emodepside, cured 83 percent of people infected with whipworms. The increase of emodepside to 15 mg resulted in an increase of the cure rate to 92 percent. “Such a high cure rate of patients infected with whipworm has not been observed so far with the current anthelminthic drugs”, emphasized Professor Jennifer Keiser, principal investigator of the study.

“Our partnership with Bayer aims to jointly develop emodepside as an effective therapy for humans infected with soil-transmitted helminths”, said Jürg Utzinger, Director of Swiss TPH. “Although drugs are available for treatment of these infections, there is a pressing need for further high effective therapies that are safe and efficacious, particularly in view of the risk of resistance development to current treatments.”

Parasitic worm infections affect the poorest and most deprived communities with poor access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in tropical and subtropical areas, with the highest prevalence reported from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America.

Soil-transmitted helminth infections are caused by different species of parasitic worms, including whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Infected people can experience symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhoea, and anaemia and heavier infections can lead to malnutrition, impaired growth, and delayed physical development. In severe cases, it can even cause blockages in the intestine that may require surgery. Worldwide, more than 1.5 billion people are infected with at least one soil-transmitted helminth species.

The collaboration with Swiss TPH adds to Bayer’s existing product development partnership with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to develop emodepside as a treatment option for onchocerciasis (river blindness), which could significantly shorten the duration of treatment and ultimately control the disease.

About Swiss TPH
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) is a world-leading institute in global health with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Associated with the University of Basel, Swiss TPH combines research, education and services at local, national and international levels. 900 people from 80 nations work at Swiss TPH focusing on infectious and non-communicable diseases, environment, society and health as well as health systems and interventions.

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2022, the Group employed around 101,000 people and had sales of 50.7 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 6.2 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

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Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.



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