Eisai joins tuberculosis partnership

The collaboration between pharma companies and research institutes aims to discover new tuberculosis treatments

Japanese pharamceutical company Eisai has joined the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator (TBDA) partnership, a ground-breaking initiative that aims to speed up the discovery of new treatments for tuberculosis (TB).

The TBDA was launched in June 2012 through a collaborative agreement between pharmaceutical companies AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Sanofi, plus research institutions the 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, and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It 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 one month, compared with the six months of treatment required by existing medicines.

As a TBDA member, Eisai will provide targeted sections of its compound libraries for screening against TB and share identified and confirmed hits with other TBDA partners. The firm will also work cooperatively with other partners to facilitate the development of new therapies for TB.

Tuberculosis can be cured by taking several strong antibiotics daily for at least six months but many patients fail to complete this treatment because the drugs have unpleasant side-effects and the treatment is complicated.

Through the discovery of new TB drug combinations with the potential to cure patients in one month, rather than six, the TBDA will contribute to minimising the length of treatment and decreasing treatment rates.

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