GlaxoSmithKline - TB Alliance Drug Discovery Program
In March 2005, GlaxoSmithKline and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) announced a joint discovery partnership to improve the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). All compounds will be screened to ensure they can be taken with HIV treatments, since people living with AIDS are often susceptible to TB infection. The TB Alliance supports 25 full-time scientists working exclusively on the TB drug program at the GSK R&D facility in Tres Cantos, Spain. GSK will contribute a matching number of staff and all remaining overhead costs. Around 1.5 million compounds have been tested for anti-TB activity and any medicines discovered will be made as affordable and accessible as possible to those most in need. The program broadens the worldwide TB medicine pipeline by adding several novel classes of compounds that use new mechanisms of action. The joint research program consists of four projects intended to yield new compounds that attack Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) on multiple levels. Drug candidates arising from these projects could shorten the standard duration of treatment and treat patients who are resistant to conventional therapies. The program includes a novel class of antibiotics targeting a Mycobacterium gyrase and two target-based projects, malate synthase (MS) and InhA. The fourth project screened GSK's antimicrobial libraries for novel compounds that could kill M.tb. A shorter TB regimen is expected to improve patient compliance, increase cure rates and lower toxic side effects, thereby limiting the rise of new resistant strains. A novel TB regimen that is compatible with HIV treatments would improve TB control and help in the fight against AIDS. In January 2008, GSK announced a 3-year extension of its program with the TB Alliance. Dr. Mel Spigelman, Director of R&D, TB Alliance, said 'We are encouraged by the success of our pioneering work with GSK, which has nearly doubled the number of TB drug discovery projects in our pipeline. This collaboration is advancing the TB Alliance's mission to develop revolutionary, faster and better TB treatment regimens by exploring new ways to attack the disease.' GSK's lead TB project on Mycobacterium Gyrase Inhibitors expects to select a candidate for development in the first half of 2010.