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Novartis licenses tuberculosis R&D to TB Alliance

Includes drugs to tackle resistant forms of the disease
Novartis building

Pharma company Novartis is to transfer its entire R&D programme for tuberculosis to not-for-profit research group the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Aliiance).

As part of the deal the TB Alliance will assume financial and operational responsibility for the continued research into potential TB treatments discovered at the Novartis Institutes for Tropical Diseases (NITD).

This pipeline includes a novel class of drugs called indolcarboxamides that are active against drug sensitive and multi-resistant strains of TB.

Resistance to current TB treatments is a major public health issue in developing nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) said last year that an extra $1.3bn needs to be raised each annually until 2016 to address the issue.

Specific compounds highlighted by Novartis include NITD304, which blocks the protein MmpL3 - an essential component for the survival of TB bacterium.

Novartis said it chose the TB Alliance to develop its TB pipeline as the organisation “has the best combination of expertise, capacity, and strategic interest to develop new agents and regimens for TB”.

Mark Fishman, president of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said: "TB Alliance is well placed to take our discoveries and compounds through development for the benefit of patients with TB."

The decision was also helped by the fact that the two organisations have collaborated in the past.

“Our long-standing partnership with Novartis gives us confidence in the scientific underpinnings of the TB portfolio,” said Dr Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of TB Alliance.

“We look forward to advancing the most promising compounds into the clinic to meet the urgent need for new TB treatments.”

The TB Alliance also has partnerships with other pharma companies including Sanofi.

20th August 2014

From: Research, Healthcare

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