NEW YORK and BANGALORE, India, May 3 The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) and AstraZeneca announced today at the 2010 BIO International Convention that they have entered into a research collaboration agreement to accelerate the discovery, development and clinical use of drugs against tuberculosis (TB), including drug resistant strains of the disease. One in five patients with TB are resistant to at least one of today's standard first-line TB drugs according to the most recent data from the World Health Organization.
Under the agreement, the TB Alliance and AstraZeneca will both contribute promising TB drug discovery projects into a joint portfolio that will be co-developed by both parties. Sharing resources and creating a seamless path to clinical-stage development will improve the efficiency of both organizations' research programs. By focusing on novel compound classes, the drug candidates identified by the collaboration are likely to be effective against both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive tuberculosis. The financial terms were not disclosed.
The initial set of projects contributed by the TB Alliance results from its ongoing collaboration with several world-leading researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University and New York Medical College. AstraZeneca's projects come from its TB research center in Bangalore, India. The joint portfolio will be resourced by a core group of scientists based at AstraZeneca's TB research center in Bangalore with expertise and funding provided by both organizations.
Promising compounds identified in this collaboration will also be tested in combination with other therapies as part of the Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens, a cross-sector initiative intended to speed TB drug regimens to patients who need them.
"Collaboration is absolutely vital to developing the tools needed to truly revolutionize the way TB is treated and overcome the global TB epidemic," said Mel Spigelman, M.D., President and CEO, TB Alliance. "AstraZeneca has a well-established TB drug discovery program and is a crucial participant in the Critical Path to New TB Regimens. Together, our research promises to bring important advances to TB patients in need."
Les Hughes, AstraZeneca's Vice President of Infection Discovery said: "AstraZeneca is building a leading franchise in the treatment of infectious diseases, both through our own in-house research as well as through collaborations. This collaboration is part of the global partnership that will be needed to conquer the TB epidemic. We are excited to be working with the TB Alliance to help move forward the drug discovery program and quickly speed promising candidates into clinical development."
Every year, 1.8 million people worldwide die from TB. Today's TB drugs are nearly 50 years old and must be taken for six to nine months for drug-sensitive disease and up to 24 months for drug-resistant disease. Long, demanding treatment schedules prove too much for many patients and the resulting erratic or inconsistent treatment can result in drug resistance, treatment failure or death.
About the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development
The TB Alliance is a not-for-profit, product development partnership accelerating the discovery and development of new TB drugs that will shorten treatment, be effective against susceptible and resistant strains, be compatible with antiretroviral therapies for those HIV-TB patients currently on such therapies, and improve treatment of latent infection.
Working with public and private partners worldwide, the TB Alliance is leading the development of the most comprehensive portfolio of TB drug candidates in history. It is committed to ensuring that approved new regimens are affordable, adopted and available to those who need them.
The TB Alliance operates with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Irish Aid, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For more information on TB drug development and the TB Alliance, please visit www.tballiance.org.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines. As a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease medicines, AstraZeneca generated global revenues of US $32.8 billion in 2009. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com.
About the Critical Path to New TB Regimes (CPTR)
The Critical Path to New TB Regimens (CPTR) is a revolutionary initiative with the potential to reduce the time needed to develop a fully novel TB drug regimen by as much as 75%. CPTR is supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization and signed on to by many of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca. The TB Alliance is one of the initiative's co-founders, along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Critical Path Institute.