The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), a not-for-profit product development partnership accelerating the discovery and development of new drugs to fight tuberculosis (TB), today announced the appointment of Dr. Melvin Spigelman as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Spigelman has served as the Director of Research and Development at the TB Alliance since 2003, and in that time has overseen the establishment of the largest single TB drug discovery and development portfolio ever assembled. He will replace Dr. Jerome Premmereur, who resigned for personal reasons. Dr. Spigelman will officially take over in January and will work with Dr. Premmereur in the next three months to assure a smooth transition.
"Dr. Spigelman has led the development of the Alliance's pioneering program to develop novel TB regimens and, under his leadership, the TB Alliance has achieved drug development milestones that many people had not thought possible before we began," said Dr. Gijs Elzinga, Chairman of the Board of the TB Alliance. "We are confident that, in selecting Dr. Spigelman, we have assured that this momentum will be maintained and that the TB Alliance will succeed in developing the drugs badly needed by so many people. No one better understands the importance of this mission or is more dedicated to it than Dr. Spigelman."
Every year, more than 1.5 million people worldwide die from tuberculosis. Nearly 9 million people fall ill with TB. It is estimated that the bacillus that causes TB infects one-third of the world's population and the threat of drug-resistance is growing at an alarming rate. TB hits the most vulnerable people in the world and devastates whole families, whole villages and whole nations. New, faster-acting, simpler drug regimens are critical to defeating this ancient disease. The TB Alliance is leading this global effort, discovering and developing new compounds and acting as a catalyst to encourage information sharing and coordinated efforts among all organizations involved in finding new treatments.
Dr. Spigelman thanked Dr. Premmereur for his contributions to the TB Alliance during his brief tenure and promised to maintain the momentum, bring even more drugs into the discovery pipeline and into clinical trials and, ultimately, to the bedsides of TB patients.
"In the coming months, I will be working with a wide variety of partners -- from major pharmaceutical companies to small biotechnology companies, and from NGOs and academic institutions to government institutes -- to increase the robustness of our pipeline and continue to aggressively move our projects through clinical trials to registration," Dr. Spigelman said. "We are poised to deliver the first new drug to fight TB in a half-century, to significantly bring down treatment time, to stop the spread of multi- and extensively-resistant strains and, in our lifetimes, end TB."
Prior to joining the TB Alliance, Dr. Spigelman spent more than a decade directing all R&D activities for Knoll Pharmaceutical Company, a division of BASF Pharma. In that position, he oversaw multiple new drug regulatory filings and approvals, supervised joint R&D programs with a variety of other major pharmaceutical companies, led a global therapeutic management team in the field of oncology/immunology and helped establish international R&D processes. He also served on the Executive Committee of Knoll Pharmaceutical Company and the Global R&D Management Team of BASF Pharma.
Following his medical training, Dr. Spigelman served on the faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Neoplastic Diseases, where he conducted basic research in the areas of blood-brain barrier permeability and brain tumors, as well as clinical research in a variety of malignancies. He was the recipient of the American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award (1985-1988). He holds board certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board's Subspecialty Board of Medical Oncology and the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Spigelman received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Dr. Spigelman also serves on the Board of Directors of The Medicines Company and Synergy Pharma and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of 4SC AG.