Updated on 29 June 2012
This partnership involves competing companies to work together to develop the best prospects
Seven pharmaceutical companies and four research institutions, working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently launched a partnership that aims to speed the discovery of essential new treatments for tuberculosis.
The partnership, known as the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA), will target the discovery of new TB drugs by collaborating on early-stage research. Aided by nearly $20 million from the Gates Foundation, partners officially launched the TBDA in April and have begun the first round of screening for new TB drug candidates. The TBDA aims to develop five new preclinical drug candidates with treatment-shortening potential within 5 years and proof-of-concept for a one-month three-drug regimen within 10 years.
Seven pharmaceutical giants Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Sanofi will open up targeted sections of their compound libraries and share data with each other. This collaboration also involved four research institutions: the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI); the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,(NIAID), Texas A&M University and Weill Cornell Medical College.
This partnership breaks away from traditional research and development practices, as it involves competing companies to work together to develop the best prospects, regardless of where the drug originated. The structures of lead compounds identified through the program will ultimately be placed in the public domain.
Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Mr Chris Viehbacher, on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry, said, "The TB Drug Accelerator establishes a new paradigm of cooperation in drug discovery. By working together on this, we can optimize our research and speed the development of one of the most pressing needs in global health."