We cannot win the war against TB without new, faster-acting, and affordable tools. Novel regimens are the key. These tools could tackle multiple, if not all, types of TB, dramatically reducing the time it takes to cure the disease and transform treatment.
There are not enough novel candidates in the pipeline today — new and promising TB drug candidates must be discovered for tomorrow. TB Alliance works with partners around the world, including the TB Drug Accelerator Program, to augment discovery efforts and find the most promising targets and programs, wherever they may be. This past year saw significant progress in the pursuit of future TB treatments.
In 2013, much of the growth of TB Alliance's discovery efforts were fostered by new collaborations made possible through the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), a new public-private partnership to leverage Japanese companies and their expertise and resources in the fight against neglected infectious disease. New partnerships included those with Daiichi Sankyo, Shionogi, and Takeda. TB Alliance will screen the libraries of these organizations for compounds with promising activity against M.tb., the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Such collaboration represents not only new opportunities for TB drug discovery, but a new commitment from Japan to contribute to global TB research and development.
Discovery programs that were already underway also saw progress including TBA-354, which completed preclinical development in 2013. TBA-354 is a nitroimidazole that demonstrates more potent anti-bactericidal and sterilizing efficacy compared to PA-824, which is in the same class and a component of multiple promising new regimens in late-stage development.
Building tomorrow's pipeline will require increased investment, as well as collaboration. In 2013, TB Alliance convened a Discovery Partners Workshop (pictured at left) at GSK's Diseases of the Developing World Centre in Tres Cantos, Spain, which was attended by scientists from key organizations working in TB drug discovery, including many of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. The inaugural meeting fostered an important exchange of information in the field which should help TB research groups both coordinate and improve drug discovery efforts moving forward.