African sleeping sickness is a two stage protozoal disease which is endemic in 36 countries located in sub-Saharan Africa. In Stage 1, the infection is localized in the blood. In Stage 2, the infection crosses into the central nervous system (“CNS”) and brain, causing serious sleep cycle disruptions, paralysis, and progressive mental deterioration. African sleeping sickness is 100% fatal unless treated. The number of deaths from African sleeping sickness has been placed at 50,000 per year.
Anacor Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with Scynexis and DNDi, has discovered a new compound, SCYX-7158, which is useful in treating both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of African sleeping sickness. Oral administration of this compound for seven days of less is planned, which represents a significant improvement over the drug toxicity and infusion regimen issues of current therapies. SCYX-7158 is currently undergoing clinical trials in humans.