Developing New Tuberculosis Drugs from Marine Natural Products: Joint research program between OPBIO and TB Alliance announced

December 18, 2014

OPBIO Factory Co., Ltd. (OPBIO) has signed a research agreement with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance). The research program involves the discovery of candidate compounds for tuberculosis (TB) drugs in partnership with TB Alliance.

TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is a serious infectious disease that often affects the lungs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest infectious killer worldwide. In 2013, nine million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease. There have been advances in the fight against TB worldwide, with WHO reporting that TB incidence fell at an average rate of about 1.5% per year between 2000 and 2013. However, the slow pace in reducing the disease’s impact, combined with the surge in drug-resistant strains and synergy with HIV/AIDS especially in developing countries, means that new TB regimens are needed more than ever to win the war against the disease.

In this research program, OPBIO will search for lead candidate compounds for TB drugs from its marine natural products extract libraries. According to Akihiko Kanamoto, CEO of OPBIO, “This project is in alignment with the company’s mission to find candidate compounds from marine natural products to develop innovative drugs and contribute to global health.”

A portion of the program will be funded by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund). The GHIT Fund is an international non-government organization (NGO) promoting drug discovery from Japan with the aim to control epidemics of infectious diseases especially in developing countries, such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases.

“It’s clear that we need more promising candidates in the discovery pipeline to find tomorrow’s improved TB treatments,” said Mel, Spigleman, MD, CEO and President of TB Alliance. “We welcome the partnership with OPBIO and GHIT, as significant contributors in the fight against TB.”

About the TB Alliance

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis. 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. The TB Alliance operates with funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Irish Aid, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, UNITAID, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

About Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)

GHIT Fund is the world’s first product development fund for global health R&D, a public-private partnership that brings Japanese research and development (R&D) to the global fight against infectious diseases. GHIT Fund was jointly established in April 2013 by the Japanese government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare), a consortium of Japanese pharmaceutical companies, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its aim is to control infectious diseases epidemic in developing countries, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected topical diseases (NTD). It facilitates international research collaborations on drug development between Japanese and non-Japanese entities through investments in product development partnerships.

For more details of the GHIT Fund, visit



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