Updated on 3 May 2012
Dr Mel Spigelman, President & CEO - TB Alliance
The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of new, faster-acting and affordable tuberculosis medicines. In an interview with BioSpectrum, Dr Mel Spigelman, president & CEO, TB Alliance, speaks about the initiatives taken by TB Alliance and its future plans.
What are the areas of focus for TB Alliance?
TB Alliance has developed and is currently managing the largest portfolio of potential new TB drugs. This portfolio includes more than 20 drug discovery and development programs, including three drug candidates in late-stage clinical trials, the first-ever clinical trial testing multiple new TB drug candidates simultaneously, in combination, and preclinical discovery and screening programs that encompass thousands of compounds being screened, synthesized, or optimized in discovery and preclinical studies. The objective is to bring out an entirely novel therapeutic regimen that will shorten and simplify treatment.
A faster, better TB drug regimen will improve patient compliance, increase cure rates, lower toxic side-effects, and could save millions of lives. As new treatments are developed, the TB Alliance hopes to bring down the time taken to cure TB from the average six-month period for finishing the treatment. The long-term goal of TB Alliance is to find out a treatment option that can be administered in less than two weeks, similar to those for many other bacterial infections.
Can you shed light on some of TB Alliance's initiatives?
In addition to the pipeline of new drug candidates, the TB Alliance is leading a number of initiatives to benefit the field of TB at large, including a consortium dedicated to discovering and developing reliable biomarkers. Additionally, the TB Alliance is co-founder of The Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens (CPTR), which is a broad collaboration of pharmaceutical companies, civil society organizations, and others working to overcome a wide variety of challenges to drug development, with the goal of dramatically accelerating the development of new, safe, and highly-effective combination treatments for TB. CPTR partners include many of the world's leading pharmaceutical developers. The TB Alliance leads the Drug Development Coalition, which is one of the three arms of CPTR.
How does TB Alliance operate?
The TB Alliance operates with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Food and Drug Administration. Other fund providers over the past decade include Irish Aid, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Rockefeller Foundation.