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GEN News Highlights : Sep 20, 2012

Joining Forces to Speed TB Drug Development

The TB Alliance and Sanofi are teaming up on a research collaboration to speed the discovery and development of tuberculosis (TB) drugs. The work will focus on optimizing and developing a number of compounds in Sanofi’s library, including lead compounds based on chemical derivatives of natural products, and small molecule hits identified via high-throughput screening.

“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,” comments Elias Zerhouni, M.D., president for global R&D at Sanofi. “Sanofi’s 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.”

Sanofi already markets a number of antituberculosis drugs, and its scientists discovered rifampicin back in the early 1960s. The firm’s Impact TB initiative has been established as part of its Access to Medicines program, through which it is continuing TB research and provides drugs to health authorities in affected countries at affordable prices. Sanofi says estimates suggest that TB affected nearly 9 million people globally in 2010, and that the costs of diagnosing and treating the disease is projected to rise to some $4.4 billion in 2015. The TB Alliance is a nonprofit body dedicated to the discovery and development of fast-acting, affordable drug regimens against TB.