Our company is working to identify and develop new drugs against tuberculosis (TB) that can lead to shorter and better-tolerated regimens.
Tuberculosis is one of the most serious infectious diseases worldwide. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, and that 1.7 million people died from the disease.1 Although TB is a treatable and curable disease, current treatments require patients to take multiple antibiotics for six to 24 months or longer, are complicated to administer and have significant adverse events. 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-tolerated regimens with shorter durations.
Our company is a member of the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA), a groundbreaking collaboration among eight research institutions, nine pharmaceutical companies and a product development partnership to facilitate TB drug discovery. It has been designed and coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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 more than 3 million small molecules from corporate and other compound collections for screening. The immediate goal is to provide clinical proof of concept by 2024 for a new regimen that can cure a patient with TB in only one month.
Our company has completed two large in-house screening campaigns. One was a screen of over 2 million compounds, and the other was a collaborative effort with TBDA partners using our proprietary Automated Ligand Identification System (ALIS) technology. Both screens delivered sets of unique hit molecules that are being followed up by our scientists and other TBDA member scientists. In collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we continue to champion a lead optimization program within the TBDA. Through the TBDA, we are collaborating to progress a natural product program that was initiated by our company and is now being championed by Eisai.