Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) have announced a new research collaboration agreement to accelerate the discovery and development of novel compounds against tuberculosis (TB), a deadly infectious disease that resulted in almost 1.5 million deaths worldwide1 in 2010.
Under the agreement, Sanofi and TB Alliance will collaborate to further optimize and develop several novel compounds in Sanofi’s library that have demonstrated activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB. This includes in-depth research of lead compounds based upon identified chemical derivatives of natural products, which have promising potential to treat all forms of TB, and the chemical optimization of other series of compounds that have been identified as “hits” through high-throughput screening.
“Sanofi’s long-standing commitment to delivering treatments for people living with tuberculosis – including the discovery of rifampicin, the gold-standard drug for tuberculosis treatment, as well as the manufacture of TB treatments – continues with this collaboration,” said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President, Global R&D, Sanofi. “By continuing our excellent partnership with the TB Alliance and leveraging our joint resources, we hope to find together new options to fight this dreaded global disease.”
“In working with Sanofi, we seek a common goal – to give patients and physicians significantly more effective treatments for TB and drug-resistant TB,” said Mel Spigelman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, TB Alliance. “Without new regimens, we cannot stop this global pandemic.”
In 2010, TB affected nearly 9 million people2 globally. The cost of diagnosing and treating these cases between 2009 and 2015 was estimated at U.S. $16.9 billion, with annual costs increasing from $700 million in 2009 to $4.4 billion in 2015.3 Current TB treatments require patients to take multiple antibiotics for six to 24 months or longer4, a treatment that is difficult for many patients to complete, leading to noncompliance. Noncompliance can result in the development of drug-resistant strains, such as multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) or extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), or death.5 In fact, a recent Lancet study led by Tracy Dalton from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates XDR-TB has been reported in 77 countries worldwide and MDR-TB and XDR-TB are both at higher levels than previously estimated.6 The health consequences of TB and reported increases in MDR-TB and XDR-TB, along with increasing treatment costs, underscore the urgent need for new, better, faster-acting treatments.
1 World Health Organization. WHO Report 2011: Global Tuberculosis Control. World Health Organization, 2011. p. 3, para. 4.
2 World Health Organization. WHO Report 2011: Global Tuberculosis Control. World Health Organization, 2011. p. 1, para. 3.
3 Donald, P. R. and van Helden, P. D. The global burden of tuberculosis: Combating drug resistance in difficult times. New England Journal of Medicine, 2009; 360(23): 2393.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. TB: Treatment. Accessed May 4, 2012, at http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/treatment/default.htm.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Self-study Modules on Tuberculosis: 9 – Patient Adherence to Tuberculosis Treatment. Accessed May 4, 2012, at http://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/ssmodules/pdfs/9.pdf.
6 Dalton T, et al. Prevalence of and risk factors for resistance to second-line drugs in people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in eight countries: a prospective cohort study. Lancet, 2012; doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60734-X.