Merck Serono has signed an agreement to obtain rights to the investigational antimalarial compound DDD107498 from the Medicines for Malaria Venture.

The company, which is the biopharmaceutical business of German drugs giant Merck KGaA, is aiming to run a clinical programme to determine whether the compound exerts activity on a number of malaria parasite lifecycle stages, and remains active in the body long enough to offer potential as a single-dose therapy.

Detail on the terms of the deal was a little thin, but it was announced that development and commercialisation of the compound falls under Merck Serono’s responsibility, while MMV will provide its expertise and access to its public and private sector networks in malaria-endemic countries.

According to the World Health Organisation, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2013, and 584,000 deaths, primarily in young children from the developing world.