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Fosun Pharma Develops Innovative Artemisinin-based Antimalarial Drugs Contributing to the Efforts for A Malaria-free World Through the Belt and Road Initiative

Fosun Pharma Develops Innovative Artemisinin-based Antimalarial Drugs Contributing to the Efforts for A Malaria-free World Through the Belt and Road Initiative

SHANGHAI, April 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ --  On April 25, 2023, World Health Organization (WHO) gave as the theme for World Malaria Day 2023 Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement. Within this theme, WHO will mainly focus on the third "i" – implement – and notably the critical importance of reaching hard to reach populations with the tools and strategies that are available today.

This year 2023 also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Medicine knows no borders. Artemisinin and its derivatives have moved from the countries along the Belt and Road to the forefront of the world's battle against malaria since it was discovered by Chinese scientists, more than 50 years ago. Through continuous innovation and global operation, Fosun Pharma has implemented and extended its efforts to  "Helping Africa Fight Malaria" and contributed to the implementation of the "Belt and Road Initiative" building  a community with a shared positive future for mankind. By the end of 2022, Artesun (Artesunate for Injection), independently developed and manufactured by Fosun Pharma, had treated over 56 million patients with severe malaria worldwide, becoming a prime example for innovative medicinal products developed in China serving  the world.

World Malaria Day 2023, together we build a Malaria-free world
World Malaria Day 2023, together we build a Malaria-free world

Chinese wisdom and solutions contribute to the global anti-malarial fight and to build a better future through the "Belt and Road Initiative"

As one of the oldest and most widely spreading infectious diseases in the world, malaria continues to have a devastating impact on human health around the world. Historically, malaria was also widespread in China. In the 1970s, a profound effort by researchers in China as a potent antimalarial drug,  inspired by ancient traditional Chinese medicine books. Subsequent development, clinical trials and deployment of this new class of drugs was essential for, malaria prevention and control in China, accumulating after more than 70 years of unremitting efforts, certification by the WHO of  "Malaria-free" in 2021. From 30 million cases of the disease annually to zero, China's tireless effort to achieve this important milestone in the fight against malaria demonstrates the persistence, efforts and dedication of the Chinese people of several generations of Chinese people.

However, the global efforts to control and eliminate malaria remain challenging: whereas some countries have importantly reduced their malaria burden or even eliminated malaria; others countries have seen an increase in the number of malaria patients. There were an estimated 619,000 deaths due to malaria in 2021 according to the World Malaria Report 2022 released in December 2022. The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2021, the Region was home to 95% of malaria cases (234 million) and 96% of malaria deaths (593,000). Children under five years old accounted for about 80% of all malaria deaths in the Region.

To truly win the fight against malaria, malaria must be eradicated globally!

Over the past decade of the Belt and Road Initiative, China's products for malaria prevention and control, as well as China's approach to malaria elimination, have been closely observed and are widely recognized by the WHO and the international malaria community. China's experience continues to contribute to malaria control and elimination in developing countries. The story of China's participation in global malaria elimination extends the purpose of the Silk Road and it aims to create a better future through the "Belt and Road Initiative". From the discovery of artemisinin by Tu Youyou to the wide application of artesunate for injection, an innovative drug developed in China, Chinese wisdom, and approaches contribute to the global fight against malaria.

Fosun Pharma continues its independent R&D of innovative antimalarial drugs used for malaria prevention, treatment of uncomplicated malaria and life-saving treatment of severe malaria patients

In 1987, Guilin Pharma, a Fosun Pharma subsidiary, was authorized the China No. X-01 Class I New Drug Certificate by the Ministry of Health of the PRC for its independently researched and developed artesunate, and the No. X-02 New Drug Certificate for artesunate for injection. Since then, artesunate has been widely used for the treatment of malaria globally, saving countless lives of malaria patients. In 2000, it was listed as one of the essential antimalarial drugs  by the World Health Organization. In early 2011, the World Health Organization revised the Guidelines for the Treatment of Malaria by changing the first-line drug for treating severe malaria from quinine to injectable artesunate. By the end of 2022, Fosun Pharma had supplied more than 280 million doses of Artesun (artesunate for injection) to the world, treating more than 56 million severe malaria patients worldwide.

Fosun Pharma continues its independent R&D of innovative antimalarial drugs used for malaria prevention, malaria treatment and life-saving treatment of severe malaria patients. Ranging from malaria treatment to prevention, Fosun Pharma continues to provide solutions, in particular also for children, helping to effectively reduce the malaria burden and death toll of malaria in children under five years old in Africa.

In August 2018, Fosun Pharma's SPAQ-CO® Disp (co-packed sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine dispersible tablets and amodiaquine dispersible tablets), for the prevention of malaria in children, was pre-qualified by WHO (WHO-PQ). By the end of 2022, around 210 million children in Africa have benefited from the "Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention Program", for which SPAQ-CO® Disp is used as the core drug and which has effectively reduced the morbidity of malaria in children under five years old in Africa.

Continuously improve global operation capability and fulfill corporate social responsibility

Since 2006, Fosun Pharma has actively participated in the Chinese government's Assistance to Africa in Fighting Malaria and has also participated in various public welfare activities and international malaria research projects aiming to help improve malaria control capacity in Africa. Fosun Pharma has been a core supplier of antimalarial drugs to the Global Fund, UNICEF, WHO, and national drug procurement centers in Africa.

In recent years, Fosun Pharma has continuously improved its global operating capacity. By the end of 2022, a revenue of RMB 13.938 billion was earned in regions outside Chinese Mainland and other countries, accounting for 31.7% of its total revenue 2022.

After more than 15 years of operations in Africa, Fosun Pharma has established a sales and marketing network in 39 countries and regions in Africa, ensuring the continued availability of medicines and healthcare products in Africa, including antimalarial drugs. Moreover, Fosun Pharma has set up five regional distribution centers in emerging markets such as Africa, with a first-line commercialization team of approximately 800 people. Among them, the Côte d'Ivoire distribution center in West Africa was officially opened in 2021 and is currently the largest local drug distribution center in the francophone region of West Africa.

In November 2022, Fosun Pharma's Côte d'Ivoire campus project was officially launched, marking an important step for Fosun Pharma in the realization of local drug manufacturing and supply in Africa. In the future, the antimalarials and antibiotics produced by Fosun Pharma's Côte d'Ivoire factory will be distributed through its holding subsidiary Tridem Pharma to help Côte d'Ivoire and other regions in West Africa realize the local supply of essential drugs, thus reducing the risk of drug shortage, important for instance in case of public health crises requiring an emergency response.

Fosun Pharma's Côte d'Ivoire park project was launched to promote localized drug manufacturing and supply in Africa
Fosun Pharma's Côte d'Ivoire park project was launched to promote localized drug manufacturing and supply in Africa

Wen Deyong, CEO of Fosun Pharma, said, "As a global innovation-driven pharmaceutical and healthcare industry group, Fosun Pharma always regards innovation as the most important social responsibility for a pharmaceutical enterprise. Up to now, Fosun Pharma has 30 antimalarial drugs prequalified by WHO, ranking first in the world. Meanwhile, Fosun Pharma's global operational networks will further improve the availability and affordability of antimalarial medicines so as to contribute to the achievement of the goal to end malaria by 2030."

About Fosun Pharma

Founded in 1994, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd.* ("Fosun Pharma"; stock code: 600196. SH, 02196. HK) is a global innovation-driven pharmaceutical and healthcare industry group. Fosun Pharma directly operates businesses including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical diagnosis, and healthcare services. As a shareholder of Sinopharm Co., Ltd., Fosun Pharma expands its areas in the pharmaceutical distribution and retail business.

Fosun Pharma is patient-centered and clinical needs-oriented. The company continuously enriches its innovative product pipeline through independent research and development, cooperative development, license-in, and in-depth incubation. Fosun Pharma improves the research and clinical development capabilities of FIC (First-in-class) and BIC (Best-in-class) new drugs as well as accelerates the R&D and launch of innovative technologies and products.

Guided by the 4IN strategy (Innovation, Internationalization, Intelligentization, and Integration), Fosun Pharma will uphold the development model of "Innovation Transformation, Integrated Operation and Steady Growth", with the mission of creating shareholder values through strengthening its independent R&D and external cooperation and enriching its product pipelines, as well as promoting the global networks and enhancing operational efficiency. Fosun Pharma will actively promote the digital and physical business layout in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry and is committed to becoming a first-class enterprise in the global medical and health market.

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