The TB Alliance and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that they would jointly pursue a broad drug discovery program to improve the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). This program substantially enhances the worldwide TB drug pipeline by adding several novel classes of compounds that use new mechanisms of action. The program nearly doubles the number of discovery phase initiatives, adding four strategic projects to the development pipeline. These projects further the Alliance’s strategy to develop a revolutionary new treatment regimen that contains new combinations of better and faster-acting drugs.
The research is being conducted at GSK’s Tres Cantos facility in Spain, which is dedicated to their Diseases of the Developing World (DDW) program. The program is intended to yield new compounds that attack the TB Bacterium on multiple levels and include:
- • Pleuromutilins— the most advanced discovery-stage program out of these four projects. Scientists are working to optimize this novel class of antibiotics’ antibacterial activity against TB and to ensure its safety in humans.
- • InhA and Isocitrate lyase Inhibitors— these 2 projects are designed to attack novel mycobacterial targets. By inhibiting the isocitrate lyase and InhA enzymes, these approaches may disable the bacterium without harming the patient and significantly shorten the duration of TB treatment.
- • Focused screening— this program involves the screening of GSK’s extensive antimicrobial libraries for novel compounds with the ability to kill M. tb.
“This partnership makes a significant contribution to the increasingly robust TB drug pipeline,” said Dr. Maria C. Freire, President and CEO of the TB Alliance. “Ultimately, the revolution in TB treatment will be based on the best combinations of novel drugs. By joining both parties’ expertise and committing to affordability, we are making a major step forward in solving a complex global health problem.”
Drug candidates arising from these projects could significantly shorten the treatment time for patients with TB and, because of their novel mechanisms of action, treat patients who are resistant to conventional therapies. These compounds will also be screened for their ability to be used simultaneously with HIV/AIDS treatments, known as antiretrovirals (ARVs).
As part of the agreement, GSK has committed to affordable pricing of any resulting medicines. The TB Alliance’s mandate is to ensure that any new TB medicines that it develops are affordable, adopted by health practitioners and accessible to patients who need them most.