GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered with several companies and organisations to expedite the development of treatments for tuberculosis (TB).

Besides GSK, the consortium comprises Evotec, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The collaboration aims to deliver ‘pan-TB’ drug regimens that are Phase III ready with limited to no drug resistance. Also, the therapies are expected to be safe and better-tolerated with shorter duration and more manageable usage in comparison to current treatments.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global health president Trevor Mundel said: “Current tools are insufficient for accelerating and sustaining global progress against TB.

“Innovative partnerships, such as the PAN-TB collaboration, are urgently needed to develop new drugs and treatment regimens that can address TB and advance progress towards achieving global elimination TB goals.”

The existing regimen for drug-sensitive TB treatments involves several drugs under six or more months of dosing. However, this regimen is not suitable for drug-resistant TB, which requires more complex regimens that commonly have side effects.

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Commenting on the development of new therapies, GSK said: “The regimens that the PAN-TB collaboration is working to develop could help transform TB care.

“A shorter and safer novel regimen that can treat TB irrespective of pre-existing drug resistance and with reduced need for drug resistance testing, could provide a significant benefit to both patients and health systems.

The consortium will find and investigate potential pan-TB regimens, through a number of Phase II efficacy studies. The partners have already commenced pre-clinical research activities.

As part of the PAN-TB collaboration, members will leverage their collective assets, resources and scientific expertise. The partners will closely work with the European Regimen Accelerator for Tuberculosis (ERA4TB).