The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (Headquarters: New York, USA, “TB Alliance”) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Headquarters: Osaka, Japan; “Takeda”) announced that they have entered into an agreement that further explores hits generated from a high-throughput screening program conducted to find novel compounds to improve treatment of tuberculosis (TB). The joint research program is funded through the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund, established for the purpose of promoting research and development of pharmaceutical products, vaccines and diagnostics needed for communicable diseases.
In June 2013, TB Alliance and Takeda initiated a program to screen Takeda’s library of 20,000 proprietary compounds to identify potential candidates that showed promise to be further developed into new TB treatments. This new collaboration advances the successful hits from the screening program, which was also funded by GHIT Fund. This partnership complements TB Alliance’s existing work in advancing the pipeline for new TB drugs. For Takeda, this program with TB Alliance is an excellent opportunity to leverage, as part of Takeda’s corporate social responsibility program, the company’s drug discovery expertise for communicable diseases, in addition to Takeda’s focus on the oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system therapeutic areas.
TB is the leading infectious disease killer in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9.6 million people were infected with TB in 2014. In the same year, 1.5 million people lost their lives to the disease, 95% of whom lived in low- to middle-income countries.
Today’s existing TB treatments are complicated and require a minimum of six months of treatment, imposing a heavy burden on patients, families, and healthcare systems. Treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis can take two years or longer and is much more expensive and complicated. Given this global health threat, new TB drugs and regimens that are simpler to administer, are of shorter duration, and can overcome drug resistance are urgently needed.
The collaboration will leverage both TB Alliance’s and Takeda’s experience, knowledge and technology to discover and pursue optimal lead compounds for intervention against TB. Through these initiatives, TB Alliance and Takeda aim to contribute to the eradication of TB and improve the health and quality of life for millions of people.