GSK - TB Alliance Drug Discovery Program

Partnership Objective

Develop innovative treatments for TB.

At any given moment, more than 12 million people around the world are suffering from an active TB infection. At any given moment, more than 12 million people around the world are suffering from an active TB infection. Copyright GSK

What are the health needs and challenges?

TB is second only to HIV as the leading infectious killer of adults worldwide. It is among the three greatest causes of death of women aged 15-44 and is the leading infectious cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS.

Active TB attacks the respiratory system and other organs, destroying body tissue. The disease is contagious, spreading through the air by coughing, sneezing, or even talking. An estimated nine million new active cases develop each year. At any given moment, more than 12 million people around the world are suffering from an active TB infection.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In March 2005, GlaxoSmithKline and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) announced a joint discovery partnership to improve the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). The TB Alliance supports 15 full-time scientists working exclusively on the TB drug program at the GSK R&D facility in Tres Cantos, Spain. GSK contributes at least a matching number of staff and all remaining overhead costs.

To achieve global control of this epidemic, there is an urgent need for new TB drugs, which can: (1) shorten treatment duration; (2) target MDR or XDR strains; (3) simplify treatment by reducing the daily pill burden; (4) lower dosing frequency (for example, a once-weekly regimen); and (5) be co-administered with HIV medications.

Around 2 million compounds have been tested for anti-TB activity and any medicines discovered will be made as affordable and accessible as possible to those most in need. A strategic combination of single-enzyme targets and phenotypic screen hits is expected to be a successful strategy and the program broadens the worldwide TB medicine pipeline by adding several novel classes of compounds with new mechanisms of action. Drug candidates arising from these projects could treat patients who are resistant to conventional therapies.

The joint research program consists of a mini-portfolio projects intended to yield new compounds that attack Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) on multiple levels. The mini-portfolio currently includes 5 novel chemical series initially identified in phenotypic screens (extracellular M.tb or M.tb infecting monocytes). The successful elucidation of its mechanism of action has delivered new enzyme targets which are now being screened against GSK corporate compound collection. Special attention is dedicated to the discovery of compounds active against M.tb which are not effectively cleared by current anti-TB drugs. A shorter TB regimen is expected to improve patient compliance, increase cure rates and lower toxic side effects, thereby limiting the rise of new resistant strains. A novel TB regimen that is compatible with HIV treatments would improve TB control and help in the fight against AIDS.

In 2012, GSK and TB Alliance agreed a 3-year extension of the program. 

Partnership information

Company(ies) GlaxoSmithKline

Partner(s) Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance)

Type of Partner(s) PDPs

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis

Program Type(s) Research & Development - Development of Treatments, Research & Development - Operations Research

Targeted Population(s) Men, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women

Region(s) Europe & Central Asia

Number of Countries 28

Country(ies) Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Start Date 2005

More information Press Release

Anticipated completion date 2015