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Malaria research: Malaria Clinical Trials Unit (MCTU) Lab

Our team (from left): Richard Thomson Luque (scientific director), Micha Rosenkranz (PhD student, alumnus), Anne Ulmer (MD student, alumna), Arin Ali (quality management, alumna), Julia Hibbert (PhD student, alumna), Kristin Fürle (technician); not in the picture: Viktoria Kiehl (technician), Veronika Rathay (MD student)


Malaria vaccine: Our malaria vaccine candidate is based on the merozoite surface protein 1, which is involved in the invasion of red blood cells by the parasite and the release of daughter cells from the infected erythrocytes. MSP1 as the protein is called is further expressed during the liver stage of the parasite. A recent screen of 500 malaria proteins has identified MSP1 as a top antigen for a protective malaria vaccine. Our vaccine will have two components: a viral MSP1 delivery system to elicit a cellular immune response against liver stages and a protein component to induce a humoral immune response directed against blood stages. The protein component was tested in a first in human clinical trial and was found to be safe and immunogenic, inducing functional antibody responses. 

Malara drug: Our small molecule approach is intended to treat cases of severe malaria. The compound has a novel chemical entity. It is highly active and drug resistance breaking and it has a new mode of action. It’s safety profile is better than that of artesunate, the current treatment of severe malaria. 

List of publications

Rosenkranz M, Fürle K, Hibbert J, Ulmer A, Ali A, Giese T, Blank A, Haefeli WE, Böhnlein E, Lanzer M, Thomson-Luque R. (2023) Multifunctional IgG/IgM antibodies and cellular cytotoxicity are elicited by the full-length MSP1 SumayaVac-1 malaria vaccine. NPJ Vaccines. Aug 9;8(1):112. doi: 10.1038/s41541-023-00701-2.

News - MCTU lab

EU Malaria Fund supports Sumaya Biotech

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The EU Malaria Fund (EUMF) is a public-private partnership between the European Union, International Organizations, corporations, and organized civic society, providing a novel funding instrument to address market failures in infectious diseases with significant relevance to public health globally. On 30 September the EUMF finalized its investments into four innovative companies active in malaria R&D, among these Sumaya Biotech. In total, nine promising and innovative malaria projects, covering treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics are being supported.

The focus of Sumaya Biotech GmbH & Co. KG is on the clinical development of a novel, innovative malaria vaccine based on the full - length MSP - 1 protein. The second project of Sumaya targets the development of SC83288, an anti - malarial compound. The two projects are carried out in close cooperation with our unit.

May 2022: MCTU lab moves to INF 324

The "Malaria Clinical Trials Unit" (MCTU) lab team has finally moved into their refurbished labs in INF 324. The team around Richard Thomson Luque, the scientific director and former Postdoc in the alumni lab of Silvia Portugal, Arin Ali (responsible for quality management), the 2 PhD students Julia Hibbert and Micha Rosenkranz, the senior technician Kristin Fürle, as well as rotating students is further assisted by our MD Philip Hoepffner as Chief Medical Officer.

New contact details as of mid may 2022:


  • Richard - room 330 (tel. 06221-567827)
  • Team - room 306 (tel. 06221-567438)


  • rooms 327, 330/331 (tel. 06221-564415)

How to get in touch:

Richard Thomson Luque

Scientific Director MCTU Lab

Centre for Infectious Diseases, Parasitology
Heidelberg University Hospital
Im Neuenheimer Feld 324
69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Tel. +49 (0)6221 56-7827 (office) / -4415 (lab) / -7438 (PhD office)