Novartis has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), which has locations in the U.S., Brussels and South Africa, for compounds to fight tuberculosis (TB) that have been discovered at the Novartis Institutes for Tropical Diseases (NITD).
According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 8.6 million cases of tuberculosis each year, with more than 1.3 million deaths reported annually. TB is a global disease, but has its deadliest impact in resource-poor countries. Current therapies for TB require six- to 30-month dosing regimes and drug-resistant strains of TB increasingly are emerging.
"TB is one of the scourges of the developing world and new medicines desperately are needed to combat its continued spread," said Mark C. Fishman, president of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. "TB Alliance is well placed to take our discoveries and compounds through development for the benefit of patients with TB."
NITD will fully transfer its TB R&D program to TB Alliance, which will take financial and operational responsibility for continued research, development, approval and distribution of compounds in the portfolio. Included is a novel class of drugs called indolcarboxamides that are active against drug sensitive and multi-resistant strains of TB. One of these preclinical compounds, NITD304, blocks MmpL3, a protein essential for the TB bacterium's survival.
Novartis efforts in discovery of medicines specifically for the developing world continues, especially focused now on new therapies for treating parasitic diseases such as malaria and human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, as well as viral disease such as dengue fever.