Gates Foundation delivers an $11.8M grant to fuel tuberculosis R&D

With drug-resistant tuberculosis on the rise worldwide, the nonprofit Critical Path Institute has won an $11.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help speed development of new, much-needed TB drugs.

The grant will fund the Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens Initiative (CPTR), founded by the Critical Path Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development. The initiative has several ongoing projects, including developing physiologically based pharmacokinetic models, which will help drug developers better understand how TB drugs are absorbed and distributed in the lungs. The initiative is also working on a population-based pharmacodynamic model to help determine effective treatment doses.

Despite a surge in drug-resistant strains of TB, annual spending on R&D for TB dropped by $30.4 million in 2012 compared with 2011, according to a November 2013 report by the Treatment Action Group.

"TB is a pressing global public health issue and stopping its spread requires new treatment options," said Martha Brumfield, president and CEO of the Critical Path Institute, in a statement. She said the grant money will help reduce the time it takes to bring new drugs to market.

In December 2012, the FDA approved its first TB drug in more than 40 years--Janssen's Sirturo. Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen said it will provide data from its clinical trials of Sirturo (bedaquiline) to CPTR's Regulatory Science Consortium to help assess and decrease risks in TB late-stage clinical trials, which have had a history of failure.

The grant work will also involved testing promising drug combinations that could be used to create new multidrug treatments.

- read the press release