La Trobe University and AdAlta collaboration delivers world-first breakthrough in malaria treatment

La Trobe University


A collaboration between La Trobe University and clinical-stage drug development company, AdAlta, has led to a world-first breakthrough in the treatment of malaria.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease spread to humans by some types of mosquitoes. There were 247 million cases of malaria in 2021 across the world, with an estimated 619,000 deaths.

AdAlta, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, uses its proprietary i-body® technology platform to solve challenging drug targeting problems, and generate therapeutics with the potential to treat some of today’s most challenging medical conditions.

The La Trobe University AdAlta research has led to the discovery of new i-bodies which protect human cells from invasion by malaria and related parasites.

The work was directed by La Trobe University’s Professor Mick Foley, who is also AdAlta’s Founding Chief Scientist, and led by PhD student, Dimuthu Angage.

“This could enable a whole new approach to treating malaria,” Professor Foley said.

“To date, no antibody-like molecule has been able to combine the ability to bind strongly to multiple strains of malaria parasite with high potency killing.”

“This incredible variability between strains has plagued all previous attempts to produce a single antibody that can inhibit parasite invasion.”

“With our approach, we have been able develop a treatment that essentially protects the human body from becoming infected at two different lifecycle stages of the parasite, and across multiple strains, which will open up new avenues to malaria treatment.”

AdAlta and La Trobe University are now in the process of exploring opportunities to further the potential of this discovery.

“These results are further evidence of the value of AdAlta’s long-standing collaboration with La Trobe University,” AdAlta CEO and Managing Director, Dr Tim Oldham, said.

“These outcomes once again demonstrate the versatility and power of the i-body® platform to address drug targets and diseases that challenge traditional antibody approaches.”

/Public Release.