Astellas and TB Alliance Enter into a New Collaborative Research Agreement to Identify Lead Compounds for the Treatment of Tuberculosis

March 30, 2021

TOKYO and NEW YORK (March 31, 2021)—Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., “Astellas” ) and TB Alliance (President and CEO: Mel Spigelman, M.D.), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis (TB) today announced that they have entered into a new collaborative research (“Hit-to-Lead PJ”) agreement to identify lead compounds for the treatment of TB.

TB is a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can be fatal in the worst cases. In 2019, 10 million people were diagnosed with TB, and as many as 1.4 million people died of the disease*1. TB is responsible for economic devastation and the cycle of poverty and illness that entraps families, communities and even entire countries. In recent years, the emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is resistant to available TB drugs, has made the disease deadlier and treatment more difficult.

Astellas and TB Alliance have conducted joint research (“Screening PJ”) for exploration of new compounds for Mycobacterium tuberculosis since October 2017. The hit compounds appear to be unique in their structures compared with TB drugs in use or under development. They also appear not to share the mechanism of action with the existing TB drugs suggesting activity against drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The Hit-to-Lead PJ aims to identify lead compounds with improved pharmacological activity, pharmacokinetics, and safety by utilizing multiple hit compounds obtained from the Screening PJ. The Hit-to-Lead PJ is going to be funded by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund*2(“GHIT Fund”).

Guided by its corporate philosophy, Astellas’ main efforts to expand Access to Health lie in discovering, developing and providing innovative medicines for patients. To improve Access to Health, Astellas has identified four areas where we can leverage our strengths, technologies and expertise to contribute to better global health. These areas are “creating innovation”, “enhancing availability”, “strengthening healthcare system” and “improving health literacy”. This initiative is one of the “creating innovation” activities.

TB Alliance manages the largest pipeline of TB therapeutics with over 30 projects under active development. As a product development partnership, it relies on close collaboration with organizations like Astellas and GHIT to advance the discovery, development, and delivery of new drugs and regimens. TB Alliance is committed to ensuring that all new TB drugs and regimens it develops are accessible to those who need them.

  1. World Health Organization (WHO)
  2. GHIT Fund: The GHIT Fund is a Japan-based international public-private partnership fund (PPP) between the Government of Japan, multiple pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The GHIT Fund invests and manages an R&D portfolio of development partnerships aimed at neglected diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases that afflict the world’s vulnerable and underserved populations. The GHIT Fund mobilizes the Japanese industry, academia, and research institutes to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases, in collaboration with global partners.

About Astellas
Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. For more information, please visit our website at

About TB Alliance
TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight TB. Through innovative science and with partners around the globe, we aim to ensure equitable access to faster, better TB cures that will advance global health and prosperity. TB Alliance operates with support from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (United Kingdom), Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research through KfW, Global Disease Eradication Fund (Korea), Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Indonesia Health Fund, Irish Aid, Korea International Cooperation Agency, Medical Research Council (United Kingdom), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the United States Agency for International Development. For more information, visit

Cautionary Notes (Astellas)
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management’s current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas’ intellectual property rights by third parties.

Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.




Contacts for inquiries or additional information:
Astellas Pharma Inc.
Corporate Advocacy & Relations
TEL: +81-3-3244-3201 FAX: +81-3-5201-7473

TB Alliance
TEL: +1-646-453-2698