Through the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA) Program, our company is working to identify and develop new drugs against tuberculosis (TB) that can lead to shorter and better-tolerated regimens.
The TBDA is a groundbreaking collaboration between eight research institutions, eight pharmaceutical companies and a product development partnership to facilitate TB drug discovery. It has been designed and championed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Tuberculosis is a top infectious disease killer worldwide. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million people died from the disease. Although TB is a treatable and curable disease, current treatments require patients to take multiple antibiotics for 6 to 24 months or longer are complicated to administer and can be toxic. These factors prevent people from accessing or completing their treatment, which can lead to the development of drug-resistant strains or death. There is an urgent need for new, better, faster-acting treatments.
Through the TBDA, companies share targeted sections of their compound libraries and data with one another and with academic research institutes, in order to develop the best drug prospects, regardless of where they originate. To date, scientists from four continents have tested over 3 million small molecules from corporate and other compound collections for screening. The immediate goal is to provide clinical proof of concept for a new regimen that can cure a patient with TB in only one month by 2024.
As of the end of 2015, our company has completed two large in-house screening campaigns. One was a screen of over 2 million compounds, and the second was a collaborative effort with TBDA partners using our proprietary Automated Ligand Identification System (ALIS) technology. Both screens delivered “hit packages,” and intra-TBDA partnerships have sprung from this work. In collaboration with TBDA partners, our company is progressing these promising molecules toward the identification of drug candidates.