The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), a public-private product-development partnership leading the development of new and affordable tuberculosis (TB) drugs, announced today a new grant and pledge of up to $40 million over the next five years from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The grant will fund the research and development of new drugs to treat drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of TB with a focus on late-stage clinical trials for the TB Alliance's most advanced drug candidates.
USAID committed $3 million for the first year of the grant. Funding levels in future years will vary as the TB Alliance programs progress and according to the availability of funds for USAID's international TB programs.
TB kills someone, somewhere in the world, approximately every twenty seconds. Existing treatments take too long and put an unreasonable burden on patients and healthcare providers. Additionally, drug-resistant strains are emerging with increasing frequency and pose a grave danger to lives and economies around the world.
"Tuberculosis remains a major public health threat," said Dr. Kent Hill, USAID's Assistant Administrator for Global Health. "New tools are urgently needed to combat this scourge, and USAID is committed to bringing new tools to the field, including drugs, diagnostics, and improved approaches to manage the disease, including multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB."
"This pledge underscores the significance that USAID places on controlling TB, and will help us greatly as we work to deliver new, faster, and better TB treatments," said Dr. Jerome Premmereur, President & CEO of the TB Alliance. "Investments in our clinical-stage projects will speed the process of getting urgently-needed new drugs to market."
The TB Alliance leads the development of the most comprehensive portfolio of TB drug candidates in history. Currently, two of the TB Alliance's drug candidates are in clinical trials. Moxifloxacin-containing regimens are being tested in a Phase III trial, with enrollment underway at four sites and 16 more sites approved for enrollment. PA-824 is in Phase II clinical development and shows potential to be effective against both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of TB. At least one other TB Alliance drug candidate may enter clinical trials in 2009.