Novel Partnerships Evolve
The drug development landscape is changing. While introducing new medicines is increasingly complex, risky and costly, more and more unmet needs are being considered in the development process. Joint development initiatives are taking shape, promising to address major health challenges in resource-poor countries.
GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR TUBERCULOSIS DRUG DEVELOPMENT
One such initiative is the landmark collaboration between the Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development (TB Alliance), a not-for-profit product-development partnership, and Tibotec, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company. Announced in 2009, the collaboration is a response to the urgent need to accelerate discovery and development of new drugs to treat one of the world’s oldest and most deadly diseases.
Among infectious diseases, TB is the second most common cause of adult deaths worldwide. And multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB—resistant to at least two of the medicines in today’s standard four-drug regimen for drug-susceptible TB—is posing a growing health threat.
The collaboration will maximize expertise and resources from both the public and private sectors as researchers from Tibotec and the TB Alliance work to develop TMC207, which could become the first TB drug with as new mechanism of action in 40 years.
“We’re delighted to be working with the TB Alliance on a drug that could become a breakthrough treatment for MDR-TB as well as part of a novel new regimen for drug-susceptible TB,” says Karel De Beule, Compound Development Team Leader for TMC207 at Tibotec. “Partnering with the TB Alliance gives us proximity to key stakeholders as we focus on our goal of reaching patients in record time.” The New England Journal of Medicine published Stage I results from our Phase II clinical trial in MDR-TB in June 2009.
MEETING OTHER HEALTH CHALLENGES
“The TB Alliance collaboration is not the sole effort by Johnson & Johnson to look for new ways to meet health challenges in resource-poor countries,” says Ben Plumley, recently Vice President of Global Access and Partnerships at Tibotec.* “The Company has a heritage of such collaborations, beginning with our work with the International Partnership for Microbicides.”
In 2004, Tibotec gave a royalty-free license and other support to the International Partnership for Microbicides to develop, manufacture and distribute a vaginal microbicide to prevent HIV transmission in resource-poor countries.
Johnson & Johnson is involved in a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative that partners with health care companies to enhance access to care. Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO William C. Weldon serves on the committee for this effort.