TB Alliance Spins-out Non-TB Assets to TenNor Therapeutics

Deal creates an innovative financing mechanism to support TB R&D

March 11, 2014

NEW YORK, NY – TB Alliance, an international non-profit drug development organization that develops better, faster-acting, and affordable tuberculosis (TB) drugs, announced today that it has assigned certain patents covering novel bi-functional compounds and related assets to TenNor Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Suzhou, China. These compounds were originally discovered by TB Alliance as part of its TB drug discovery effort. Although they were found not to be suitable in treating TB, they may hold value in treating infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

TenNor will develop these compounds for digestive diseases caused by bacterial infections including C.difficile and H. pylori.

The deal is among the first of its kind for a product development partnership like the TB Alliance. The revenues from this deal will be invested back into the organization to help fund its future mission-driven goals, and as such, represents a novel financing mechanism.

“This agreement represents a novel approach to ensure that our discovery efforts are optimally used for TB purposes while simultaneously generating revenue that supports our core mission of discovering and developing improved TB treatments,” said Mel Spigelman, MD, president and CEO of the TB Alliance. “As this program did not meet predetermined milestones for use in TB, we realized that many compounds tested in this program showed potential to treat certain GI infections representing significant commercial opportunities.”

Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, is a hospital infection which causes severe inflammation in the digestive tract that can prove life-threatening. The organism is responsible for 337,000 infections and 14,000 deaths every year in the United States, according to CDC. It often occurs after antibiotic use and is difficult to treat.

Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is the primary cause for chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and stomach cancer. Stomach cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Stomach cancer is highly prevalent in Asian countries, including China, where 40 percent of the world’s new cases of the disease occur. In 2012, there were 723,000 deaths attributed to stomach cancer around the world, according to WHO.

“We are very glad to work with the TB Alliance and tap into its product development pipeline,” said Zhenkun Ma, PhD, founder and CEO of TenNor. “This partnership creates synergy and allows TenNor to continue to develop products that could have tremendous impact on the lives of millions of patients.”