Eisai Co., Ltd. announced this week that it has become a signatory to the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator (TBDA) partnership, a groundbreaking initiative that aims to speed up the discovery of essential new treatments for tuberculosis (TB).
Jointly launched in June 2012 through a collaborative agreement among seven pharmaceutical companies and six research institutions with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the TBDA partnership targets the discovery of new TB drugs by working together on early-stage research.
The long-term goal of the partnership is to create a new TB drug combination that has the potential to cure patients in only one month, compared to the six months of treatment required by existing drugs. Based on the partnership, the participating pharmaceutical companies will open up targeted sections of their compound libraries and share data with other participating pharmaceutical companies and research institutions. As a TBDA member, Eisai will provide selected portions of its chemical library for screening against TB as well as share identified and confirmed hits with other TBDA partners. Eisai will also work cooperatively with other partners to facilitate the development of new therapies for TB.
TB is a contagious disease caused by a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and other organs. Although it is a curable and preventable disease, it is the second leading infectious cause of death worldwide, having resulted in the deaths of 1.4 million people in 2011 alone. One of the main reasons for the high mortality is that first-line therapies for TB are antiquated and inadequate, with all existing drugs being at least 50 years old and requiring at least six months to cure the disease. Furthermore, the length of the existing TB treatments means that a considerable number of patients drop out before completion, which in turn can lead to further transmission, emergence of drug resistance, and death. By discovering a new TB drug combination with the potential to cure patients in one month, the TBDA will contribute to shortening the length of treatment as well as decreasing treatment default rates.
The TBDA includes: AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Eli Lilly, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sanofi, Infectious Disease Research Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rutgers University, Texas A&M University, University of Dundee, and Weill Cornell Medical College.