Enrollment in 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals Clinical Trial of Tafenoquine for Babesiosis to Begin at Tufts Medical Center; First Study of Its Kind

May 30, 2024 at 7:59 AM EDT
  • 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals has entered an agreement with Tufts Medical Center to conduct a clinical trial that will evaluate the safety and efficacy of tafenoquine for the treatment of babesiosis in humans
  • The study will be the world’s first clinical trial to evaluate tafenoquine in human babesiosis patients
  • Enrollment will begin after a site initiation visit in Boston on June 13, 2024
  • Agreements are being negotiated with two other prominent university hospitals to expand recruitment in the Northeast U.S. where the incidence of babesiosis has been increasing; babesiosis, a tick-borne and potentially life-threatening illness, is an orphan disease
  • Case studies in the medical literature suggest that tafenoquine may be a promising alternative for the treatment of some patients hospitalized with relapsing babesiosis

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SXTP; SXTPW) (the “Company”), a pharmaceutical company focused on developing new medicines for infectious diseases, announced today it has entered into an agreement with Tufts Medical Center in Boston to conduct the world's first clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of tafenoquine in treating human babesiosis patients.

Recruitment of at least 24 hospitalized patients diagnosed with babesiosis will begin after a site initiation visit at Tufts Medical Center on June 13, 2024.

Babesiosis is a steadily emerging, infectious disease transmitted by a microscopic parasite, Babesia, through the bite of the black-legged (deer) tick, the vector that spreads Lyme disease. Babesiosis, an orphan disease, may be life-threatening in elderly and immunosuppressed patients. Up to 10 percent of Lyme disease patients may be coinfected with Babesia. Therefore, up to 47,600 of the estimated 476,000 patients with new Lyme infections each year may be coinfected with Babesia.

“With tick-borne illnesses on the rise in the U.S., babesiosis is rapidly emerging as a condition of serious clinical concern,” said Dr. Geoff Dow, chief executive officer at 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals. “The literature suggests tafenoquine may be a promising alternative for the treatment of patients hospitalized with relapsing babesiosis, so we are pleased to partner with Tufts Medical Center to conduct the first clinical trial of tafenoquine in treating hospitalized babesiosis patients. The results may eventually lead to an expanded indication for tafenoquine that will address this growing public health concern.”

Tufts Medical Center is one of several prominent university hospitals planning to participate in the study. 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals is in negotiations with other leading university hospitals in the Northeast U.S. to add two other clinical trial sites.

Tafenoquine is approved for malaria prophylaxis in the United States under the product name ARAKODA®. The safety of the approved regimen of tafenoquine for malaria prophylaxis has been assessed in five separate randomized, double-blind, active comparator or placebo-controlled trials for durations of up to six months. Tafenoquine has not been proven to be effective for treatment or prevention of babesiosis and is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for such an indication.

About the Study of Tafenoquine for Patients Hospitalized with Babesiosis

The study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that will enroll patients at multiple sites in the Northeast U.S. and will compare the safety and efficacy of tafenoquine versus placebo in patients hospitalized for babesiosis. The two main study endpoints will be the time to sustained clinical resolution of symptoms and the time to molecular cure as determined by an FDA-approved nucleic acid test (NAT). At least 24, and as many as 33 patients, will be recruited before an interim analysis is conducted. Sufficient enrollment capacity is planned to allow all study subjects to be recruited during the 2024 tick season (June to September) if caseload is high. The interim analysis will include both a test of significance, as well as size re-estimation to allow additional recruitment if required. The study will be conducted at three hospitals in the Northeast U.S. The efficacy and safety of 8-aminoquinolines, a class of drugs that includes tafenoquine and primaquine, for prevention and treatment of malaria is well documented. Several case reports of tafenoquine use for babesiosis indicate that the drug is already being used for this purpose in the practice of medicine in the U.S.

About ARAKODA® (tafenoquine)
Tafenoquine was discovered by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Tafenoquine was approved for malaria prophylaxis in 2018 in the United States as ARAKODA® and in Australia as KODATEF®. Both were commercially launched in 2019 and are currently distributed through pharmaceutical wholesaler networks in each respective country. They are available at retail pharmacies as a prescription-only malaria prevention drug. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the long terminal half-life of tafenoquine, which is approximately 16 days, may offer potential advantages in less-frequent dosing for prophylaxis for malaria. ARAKODA is not suitable for everyone, and patients and prescribers should review the Important Safety Information below. Individuals at risk of contracting malaria are prescribed ARAKODA 2 x 100 mg tablets once per day for three days (the loading phase) prior to travel to an area of the world where malaria is endemic, 2 x 100 mg tablets weekly for up to six months during travel, then 2 x 100 mg in the week following travel.

ARAKODA® (tafenoquine) Important Safety Information
ARAKODA® is an antimalarial indicated for the prophylaxis of malaria in patients aged 18 years of age and older.

ARAKODA® should not be administered to:

  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (“G6PD”) deficiency or unknown G6PD status;
  • Breastfeeding by a lactating woman when the infant is found to be G6PD deficient or if
  • G6PD status is unknown;
  • Patients with a history of psychotic disorders or current psychotic symptoms; or
  • Known hypersensitivity reactions to tafenoquine, other 8-aminoquinolines, or any component of ARAKODA®.

Warnings and Precautions
Hemolytic Anemia: G6PD testing must be performed before prescribing ARAKODA® due to the risk of hemolytic anemia. Monitor patients for signs or symptoms of hemolysis.
G6PD Deficiency in Pregnancy or Lactation: ARAKODA® may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman with a G6PD-deficient fetus. ARAKODA® is not recommended during pregnancy. A G6PD-deficient infant may be at risk for hemolytic anemia from exposure to ARAKODA® through breast milk. Check infant’s G6PD status before breastfeeding begins.
Methemoglobinemia: Asymptomatic elevations in blood methemoglobin have been observed. Initiate appropriate therapy if signs or symptoms of methemoglobinemia occur.
Psychiatric Effects: Serious psychotic adverse reactions have been observed in patients with a history of psychosis or schizophrenia, at doses different from the approved dose. If psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, or grossly disorganized thinking or behavior) occur, consider discontinuation of ARAKODA® therapy and evaluation by a mental health professional as soon as possible.
Hypersensitivity Reactions: Serious hypersensitivity reactions have been observed with administration of ARAKODA®. If hypersensitivity reactions occur, institute appropriate therapy.
Delayed Adverse Reactions: Due to the long half-life of ARAKODA® (approximately 17 days), psychiatric effects, hemolytic anemia, methemoglobinemia, and hypersensitivity reactions may be delayed in onset and/or duration.
Adverse Reactions: The most common adverse reactions (incidence greater than or equal to 1 percent) were: headache, dizziness, back pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT), motion sickness, insomnia, depression, abnormal dreams, and anxiety.
Drug Interactions
Avoid co-administration with drugs that are substrates of organic cation transporter-2 (OCT2) or multidrug and toxin extrusion (MATE) transporters.

Use in Specific Populations
Lactation: Advise women not to breastfeed a G6PD-deficient infant or infant with unknown G6PD status during treatment and for 3 months after the last dose of ARAKODA®.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc. at 1- 888-834-0225 or the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. The full prescribing information of ARAKODA® is located here.

About 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc., founded in 2010, specializes in developing and marketing new medicines for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases that affect the lives of millions of people. 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc. achieved FDA approval of its lead product, ARAKODA® (tafenoquine), for malaria prevention, in 2018. 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc. also collaborates with prominent research organizations in the U.S., Australia, and Singapore. The 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc. mission has been supported through in-kind funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and private institutional investors including Knight Therapeutics Inc., a Canadian-based pan-American specialty pharmaceutical company. 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is headquartered in Washington D.C., with a majority-owned subsidiary in Australia. Learn more at www.60degreespharma.com.

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This press release may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward‐looking statements reflect the current view about future events. When used in this press release, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “future,” “intend,” “plan,” or the negative of these terms and similar expressions, as they relate to us or our management, identify forward‐looking statements. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on our current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of our business, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy, activities of regulators and future regulations and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. Our actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following: there is substantial doubt as to our ability to continue on a going-concern basis; we might not be eligible for Australian government research and development tax rebates; if we are not able to successfully develop, obtain FDA approval for, and provide for the commercialization of non- malaria prevention indications for tafenoquine (ARAKODA® or other regimen) or Celgosivir in a timely manner, we may not be able to expand our business operations; we may not be able to successfully conduct planned clinical trials or patient recruitment in our trials might be slow or negligible; and we have no manufacturing capacity which puts us at risk of lengthy and costly delays of bringing our products to market. More detailed information about the Company and the risk factors that may affect the realization of forward- looking statements is set forth in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including the information contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on April 1, 2024, and our subsequent SEC filings. Investors and security holders are urged to read these documents free of charge on the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov. As a result of these matters, changes in facts, assumptions not being realized or other circumstances, the Company’s actual results may differ materially from the expected results discussed in the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Media Contact:
Sheila A. Burke
(484) 667-6330

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Source: Sixty Degrees Pharmaceuticals