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News Alert

New EU-funded projects to combat tuberculosis

Brussels, 24 March 2011

It's March 24th again and the World Tuberculosis Day reminds us that for almost 50 years no new drugs have been developed against this terrible disease, which is currently killing nearly two million people worldwide each year. It's a global problem because the emergence of drug resistant strains of this infectious disease – normally associated with poverty - is a growing problem even in high-income economies. Research on tuberculosis is, therefore, a priority area for the EU. Since the beginning of the 7th Framework Programme for Research in 2007, €51 million has been invested in over 13 transnational collaborative projects. Most of these projects have addressed the complex interaction between the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the human host, or are developing new diagnostic tools and new vaccine candidates to fight tuberculosis. Recently three more projects have started, including one funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). They will also focus on developing new drugs which could make the shorter treatment of tuberculosis a reality.

Generating new candidate drugs

New drugs for an old disease require novel ideas. Under the Seventh Framework Programme for research, the European Commission provides support for the most innovative approaches to combat the disease effectively. Two new research projects funded by the European Union started in 2011:

- MM4TB, "More Medicines for Tuberculosis", is a highly innovative project using genetic and chemical approaches to discover new ways of treating the disease and identify new chemicals that would serve as candidates for novel drugs

- ORCHID, "Open Collaborative Model for Tuberculosis Lead Optimisation", focuses on testing new drugs against drug-sensitive and –resistant tuberculosis, with a number of promising molecules as a starting point in the development of new medicines

Together, these projects will make a significant effort towards shortening the treatment regimen of tuberculosis. They combine the knowledge of the best academic research groups in Europe with industrial expertise from SMEs and big pharmaceutical companies.

Testing candidate drugs: a promising clinical trial

EDCTP, which the European Commission supports, is funding the Pan-African Consortium for Evaluation of Anti-tuberculosis Antibiotics (PanACEA), an African-European research collaboration aiming to shorten and simplify treatment of tuberculosis. This consortium is conducting regulatory standard Phase II and III clinical trials for anti-tuberculosis drugs regimens containing SQ109, Moxifloxacin and high dose Rifamycin. The molecule SQ109 is one of the most promising tuberculosis drugs to enter advanced clinical testing in recent years. It could simplify and shorten the duration of tuberculosis treatment and decrease disease recurrence.

Background

The European Union is supporting collaborative research on tuberculosis through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7, 2007-2013). It covers the full spectrum of research, from basic molecular research through preclinical tests and proof-of-principle. It also contributes to the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).

EDCTP was created in 2003 by the European Union as a response to the global health crisis caused by the three main poverty-related diseases of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It aims to accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, vaccines and microbicides with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa. It unites 16 European countries with sub-Saharan African countries. So far, the EDCTP has earmarked support to 18 tuberculosis trials with a total budget of € 99.41 million, of which 38.75 million was contributed by the European Commission.

Links
http://ec.europa.eu/research/health/infectious-diseases/poverty-diseases/tuberculosis_en.html
http://www.edctp.org/Home.162.0.html

For more information, please contact Charlotte Gugenheim (charlotte.gugenheim@ec.europa.eu), Communication Officer, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

 

Annex – Details on the research projects

ORCHID (Open Collaborative Model for Tuberculosis Lead Optimisation)

Starting date: 01/01/2011
Duration: 48 months
Cost of the project: 8.55 million euro
EU contribution: 5.36 million euro

Project coordinator: David Barros, Drug Discovery Manager, Medicinal Chemistry Dept., GlaxoSmithKline Investigación y Desarrollo SL, Spain, david.a.barros@gsk.com

Participants

GLAXOSMITHKLINE INVESTIGACION Y DESARROLLO SL (Coordinator)

SPAIN

GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR TB DRUG DEVELOPMENT NON PROFIT ORGANISATION

UNITED STATES

CELLZOME AG

GERMANY

FEDERAL STATE INSTITUTION SAINT PETERSBURG RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF PHTHISIOPULMONOLOGY OF THE FEDERAL AGENCY FOR HIGH TECHNOLOGY MEDICAL AID

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

THE FEDERAL STATE SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION SAINT-PETERSBURG SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PASTEUR INSTITUTE OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

UNIVERSITE PIERRE ET MARIE CURIE – PARIS 6

FRANCE

INSTITUT PASTEUR KOREA

KOREA, REPUBLIC OF

UNIVERZA V LJUBLJANI

SLOVENIA

THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

UNITED KINGDOM

NANOLOGICA AB

SWEDEN

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

SWITZERLAND

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA SANTE ET DE LA RECHERCHE MEDICALE (INSERM)

FRANCE

 

MM4TB (More Medicines for Tuberculosis)

Starting date: 01/02/2011
Duration: 60 months
Cost of the project: 16.82 million euro
EU contribution: 11.87 million euro

Project coordinator: Prof. Stewart Cole, Director of the Global Health Institute, UPCOL, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne EPFL, Switzerland, stewart.cole@epfl.ch

Participants

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE, EPFL (Coordinator)

SWITZERLAND

AstraZeneca India Pvt Ltd.,

INDIA

UPPSALA UNIVERSITET

SWEDEN

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PAVIA

ITALY

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY
OF CAMBRIDGE

U.K

QUEEN MARY AND WESTFIELD COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

U.K

INSTITUT PASTEUR

FRANCE

Institution of the Russian Academy of Sciences

RUSSIA

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PADOVA

ITALY

UNIVERZITA KOMENSKEHO V BRATISLAVE

SLOVAKIA

VICHEM CHEMIE KUTATO KFT

HUNGARY

JOHN INNES CENTRE

U.K

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE

INDIA

CELLWORKS RESEARCH INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED

INDIA

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DEL PIEMONTE ORIENTALE AMEDEO AVOGADRO

ITALY

COLLABORATIVE DRUG DISCOVERY INC CORPORATION

USA

UNIVERSIDAD DEL PAIS VASCO

SPAIN

TYDOCK PHARMA S.r.l

ITALY

UNIVERSIDAD DE ZARAGOZA

SPAIN

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

SWITZERLAND

Alere Technologies GmbH

GERMANY

SANOFI-AVENTIS RECHERCHE & DEVELOPPEMENT

FRANCE

UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

SOUTH AFRICA

SCIPROM SARL

SWITZERLAND

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA SANTE ET DE LA RECHERCHE MEDICALE (INSERM)

FRANCE

 

PanACEA-SQ109

Starting date: 16/06/2009

Duration:  5 years
Cost of the project: 7.7 million euro
EDCTP contribution: 4.9 million euro

Project Coordinator: Michael Hoelscher, Department for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Klinikum of the University of Munich (LMU), Germany, hoelscher@lrz.uni-muenchen.de  

Participants

Alimuddin Zumla, University College London

United Kingdom

Andreas Diacon, Stellenbosch University

South Africa

Rodney Dawson, University of Cape Town Lung Institute

South Africa

Kheertan Dheda, University College London

South Africa

Martin Grobusch, University of the Witwatersrand

South Africa

Gavin Churchyard, Aurum Institute for Health Research

South Africa

Leonard Maboko, Mbeya Medical Research Programme

Tanzania

Klaus Reither, Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre

Tanzania

Ayola Akim Adegnika, Gabon, Leiden University

Gabon

Peter Mwaba, University of Zambia

Zambia

Michael Ramharter, University of Tübingen

Gabon

Ulrich Mansmann, Klinikum der Universität München, Institute for Medical Bioinformatics

Germany

Gary Horwith, Sequella

USA