Seven pharmaceutical companies and four research institutions, working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have launched a groundbreaking partnership that aims to speed the discovery of essential new treatments for tuberculosis (TB).
The groundbreaking partnership seeks rapid cure to reduce treatment time from six months to one month.
The partnership, known as the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA), will target the discovery of new TB drugs by collaborating on early-stage research. The long-term goal of the TBDA is to create a TB drug regimen that cures patients in only one month. Existing drugs, all at least 50 years old, require six to nine months to cure the disease – a lengthy process that contributes to 20-30 per cent of patients dropping out before completion.
Aided by nearly $20 million from the Gates Foundation, partners officially launched the TBDA in April and have begun the first round of screening for new TB drug candidates.
The TBDA aims to develop five new preclinical drug candidates with treatment-shortening potential within 5 years and proof-of-concept for a one-month three-drug regimen within 10 years.
''The TB Drug Accelerator establishes a new paradigm of cooperation in drug discovery,'' said Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher, speaking on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry partners. ''By working together on this, we can optimize our research and speed the development of one of the most pressing needs in global health.''