Researchers of the anti-Wolbachia (A∙WOL) consortium have continued two major drug development projects for short-course curative treatments of the filarial diseases, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).
The novel approach of the consortium is to target the filarial symbiont, Wolbachia, leading to a safe, gradual cure of filarial infection. A short-course anti-Wolbachia treatment delivering curative activity would be a radical new tool to accelerate global elimination targets of filariasis.
With partners at AbbVie and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, the A∙WOL clinical candidate, ABBV-4083, has successfully completed phase I first-in-human testing. Data from the early clinical study is now being used to design a proof-of-concept phase II clinical trial enrolling onchocerciasis patients in Ghana. The trial is expected to commence in 2020.
In partnership with Eisai and funded by The Medical Research Council, the A∙WOL candidate, AWZ1066, commenced formal preclinical development in September 2018. A∙WOL researchers visited the Eisai production facility in Visakhapatnam, Pradesh, India in July, where scale up manufacture of the drug has been undertaken for toxicology studies. The preclinical data package will be complete in March 2020 and will support application for investigational new drug status, transitioning AWZ1066 into early clinical development in 2020.