Novel collaboration inaugurated to transform treatment for tuberculosis
A consortium of philanthropic, non-profit and private sector organisations have launched a collaboration that aims to accelerate the development of novel “pan-TB” drug regimens for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) that are ready for phase 3 development. The regimens will be designed to have little to no drug resistance and an acceptable safety profile, and be better tolerated, shorter in duration and simpler to use than existing options. Such regimens are intended to be a central component of efforts to address the current complexities and challenges of TB treatment.
The members of the Project to Accelerate New Treatments for Tuberculosis (PAN-TB collaboration) – Evotec, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., based in Japan, the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – have committed to leveraging their unique assets, resources, and scientific expertise to advance the development of novel regimens.
“Current tools are insufficient for accelerating and sustaining global progress against TB,” said Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Innovative partnerships, such as the PAN-TB collaboration, are urgently needed to develop new drugs and treatment regimens that can address TB and advance progress towards achieving global elimination TB goals.”
TB causes more deaths globally than any other infectious disease, with 10 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths recorded in 2018 alone. TB is responsible for up to a third of all mortality associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The current regimen for drug-sensitive TB, the most common and easiest to treat form of TB, requires that patients take multiple drugs for six or more months under clinical monitoring. Patients with drug-resistant TB cannot use this regimen and face longer and more complex treatment regimens, often with significant side effects. Currently, patients must undergo additional testing to diagnose drug-resistant TB.
The regimens that the PAN-TB collaboration is working to develop could help transform TB care. A shorter and safer novel regimen that can treat TB irrespective of pre-existing drug resistance and with reduced need for drug resistance testing, could provide a significant benefit to both patients and health systems.
The PAN-TB collaboration will identify and assess the potential of investigational pan-TB regimens, through phase 2 clinical efficacy studies. Collaborative pre-clinical research activities have begun. Clinical trials will be announced as they are planned.