Development and Introduction of Fexinidazole into the Global Human African Trypanosomiasis Program

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2022 Mar 15;106(5_Suppl):61-66. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-1176. Print 2022 May 11.


In this article, the authors show the strategy used to streamline the introduction of fexinidazole, the first all oral treatment of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. The dose range was determined in phase 1 studies and a significant food effect was observed, which was tested with field-adapted meals. The pharmacokinetic profile required definition of a higher loading dosage for the first 4 days and administration of the daily dose together with a typical local meal to optimize product absorption and rapidly achieve drug steady state. This allowed for a combined phase II/III pivotal study directly after phase I trials. Partnerships with highly engaged actors from endemic country control programs and international research institutions started early through the HAT platform, building on an agreed target product profile (TPP), establishing a regulatory plan early and transparently including endemic countries in the research and data flow. A key element that enabled a quick start to access activities was preparing for World Health Organization guidelines early and starting the process prior to registration. Distribution plans were identified and supply was established from the start, by taking advantage of the existing supply agreement between the producers of all HAT drugs (Sanofi and Bayer) and the WHO. Pharmacovigilance and phase 4 studies were nested into wider implementation activities. Targeted sequential introduction into national programs was prioritized, based on medical need and epidemiologically updated information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nitroimidazoles*
  • Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
  • Trypanosomiasis, African* / drug therapy
  • Trypanosomiasis, African* / epidemiology


  • fexinidazole
  • Nitroimidazoles