Simulations Plus announces success of molecule that inhibits malaria

Simulations Plus, Inc., recently announced that a molecule it created to inhibit the malaria parasite has performed successfully in preliminary testing.

Simulations Plus is known predominantly as provider of consulting services and software for pharmaceutical development. It regularly licenses simulation and modeling software to biotechnology, agrochemical and pharmaceutical companies.

"We're excited to announce that, as a result of initial testing of five of the compounds we designed to inhibit the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite, four of the five showed some inhibition of the parasite, and one of those four showed very potent inhibition at a level suitable to be a therapeutic agent," Dr. Robert Clark, the director of life sciences for Simulations Plus, said.

Clark cautioned that the molecule's ability to inhibit the malaria parasite would not guarantee that a successful drug would result from the testing. He said that it could take years of development before any drug could be made.

The most important result of the testing, according to Clark, was that it demonstrated that the company's predictive models and design methods are viable.

"We were able to design completely new chemical structures that can hit a target," Clark said.

Dr. Michael Lawless, a team leader for cheminformatics studies at Simulations Plus, said that further testing will be conducted with other malaria strains.

"The next round will be against the drug-resistant strain - a more important measure of the potential usefulness of these new molecular structures," Lawless said. "We hope to have results by the end of the month from those experiments."