Sanofi (SNY), TB Alliance Enter New Collaboration

September 20, 2012 8:05 AM EDT
Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) announced today a new research collaboration agreement to accelerate the discovery and development of novel compounds against tuberculosis (TB), a deadly infectious disease that resulted in almost 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2010.

Under the agreement, Sanofi and TB Alliance will collaborate to further optimize and develop several novel compounds in Sanofi's library that have demonstrated activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB. This includes in-depth research of lead compounds based upon identified chemical derivatives of natural products, which have promising potential to treat all forms of TB, and the chemical optimization of other series of compounds that have been identified as hits through high-throughput screening.

"Sanofi's long-standing 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," said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President, Global R&D, Sanofi. "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."

"In working with Sanofi, we seek a common goal – to give patients and physicians significantly more effective treatments for TB and drug-resistant TB," said Mel Spigelman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, TB Alliance. "Without new regimens, we cannot stop this global pandemic."

In 2010, TB affected nearly 9 million people globally. The cost of diagnosing and treating these cases between 2009 and 2015 was estimated at $16.9 billion, with annual costs increasing from $700 million in 2009 to $4.4 billion in 2015.3 Current TB treatments require patients to take multiple antibiotics for six to 24 months or longer4, a treatment that is difficult for many patients to complete, leading to noncompliance. Noncompliance can result in the development of drug-resistant strains, such as multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) or extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), or death.5 In fact, a recent Lancet study led by Tracy Dalton from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates XDR-TB has been reported in 77 countries worldwide and MDR-TB and XDR-TB are both at higher levels than previously estimated.6 The health consequences of TB and reported increases in MDR-TB and XDR-TB, along with increasing treatment costs underscore the urgent need for new, better, faster-acting treatments.

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