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TB ALLIANCE/GLAXOSMITHKLINE TO DEVELOP TB THERAPIES.

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) and GlaxoSmithKline (FTSE/NYSE: GSK) are pursuing a joint drug discovery program to improve the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). The program substantially enhances the worldwide TB drug pipeline by adding several novel classes of compounds that use new mechanisms of action.

The joint research program consists of a portfolio of four projects intended to yield new compounds that attack Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) on multiple levels. Drug candidates arising from these projects could shorten the treatment time for patients with TB and, because of their novel mechanisms of action, treat patients who are resistant to conventional therapies. These compounds will also be screened for their ability to be used simultaneously with HIV/AIDS treatments, known as antiretrovirals (ARVs). TB is a leading cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS, but today simultaneous TB-HIV treatment is extremely difficult due to drug-drug interactions between some ARVs and current TB drugs.

"This partnership makes a significant contribution to the increasingly robust TB drug pipeline," said Dr. Maria C. Freire, president and CEO of the TB Alliance. "Ultimately, the revolution in TB treatment will be based on the best combinations of novel drugs. By joining both parties' expertise and committing to affordability, we are making a major step forward in solving a complex global health problem."

"We look forward to leveraging GSK's Diseases of the Developing World program by joining the TB Alliance's initiative to combat tuberculosis," said Dr. Tadataka Yamada, Chairman of Research and Development at GSK. "This joint research program exemplifies the type of partnership that is needed to speed the development of new therapies for the leading infectious diseases in developing nations."

The research program includes the pleuromutilins, a novel class of antibiotics, and two target-based projects, isocitrate lyase (Icl) and InhA. The fourth project will screen GSK's antimicrobial libraries for novel compounds that have the ability to kill M. tb. The program will be overseen by a Joint Steering Committee and is based at GSK's Tres Cantos, Spain facility, dedicated to the Diseases of the Developing World. The TB Alliance will help support 25 full-time scientists working exclusively on the TB drug program. GSK agrees to absorb all remaining overhead costs for the associated projects. GSK will also contribute a matching number of staff as well as its drug discovery expertise. The agreement stipulates that any resulting medicines will be affordable and accessible to those most in need.

"The TB Alliance's hard work in the past five years has paved the way for a set of major steps forward in TB treatment," said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of the Treatment Action Group. "The challenge ahead is to expedite the clinical trials of the most promising drugs in people with TB and with HIV/TB, so we can realize the promise of faster curative treatment that is safe and effective with anti-HIV drugs."

The TB Alliance's goal is to develop an entirely new therapeutic regimen that will shorten and simplify current TB treatment, which currently takes six to nine months to complete. There have been no new TB drugs introduced in over 40 years. In assembling the first global TB drug pipeline since the 1960s, the TB Alliance forges partnerships with industry, research institutes, and academia. In addition to supporting platform technologies, the TB Alliance is developing nitroimidazopyrans, quinolones, macrolides and other classes of antibiotics.

A shorter TB regimen is expected to improve patient compliance, increase cure rates and lower toxic side effects, thereby limiting the rise of new resistant strains. A novel TB regimen that is also compatible with HIV treatments would improve TB control and help in the fight on AIDS. The TB Alliance works to ensure that drugs are affordable, adopted by health practitioners and are accessible to patients who need them most.

About the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership accelerating the discovery and/or development of affordable, new anti-TB drugs that will shorten treatment, be effective against multi-drug resistant strains, and improve treatment of latent infection. In collaborations with public and private research laboratories worldwide, it is leading the development of the first, most comprehensive portfolio of TB drug candidates in three decades. It operates with the support of public and philanthropic funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, the Netherlands Ministry for Cooperation Development and the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, call 646/258-8410.

About GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

For more information, call 919/483-2839.

GSK is committed to playing a leading role in addressing the healthcare crisis in the developing world. GSK believes it is the only company researching new vaccines and treatments for all three of the WHO's priority diseases in the developing world - HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. GSK has 26 clinical development programmes for diseases of relevance to the developing world and a number of preclinical projects.

For more information, visit http://science.gsk.com/about/disease.htm or call 212/704-4578.
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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:878
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