25 January 2017 – ACTION welcomes the signing of a licensing agreement between the Medicine Patent Pool (MPP) and the Johns Hopkins University, for an investigational tuberculosis (TB) treatment. The drug, sutezolid, holds significant promise for an effective new treatment for the world’s leading infectious killer. The signing, which took place, January 24 in Geneva, Switzerland, is the first licensing agreement for TB treatment announced by the MPP.
Sutezolid, if further developed and combined with other drugs, could be used to more effectively fight TB, including drug-resistant forms of the disease. It is in the same class as the commercially available drug linezolid, but early testing has shown it to be more powerful as well as less toxic, according to the MPP. Despite positive early study results, there has been no further development of the treatment since 2014. The new agreement will jump-start the development, possibly providing a welcome addition for patients, particularly those with multi-drug resistant TB.
"We welcome the announcement, which is a good first step to break bottlenecks in the development of new TB drugs," says Hannah Bowen, ACTION secretariat director. "We are truly excited at the prospect of an addition to what is a relatively scarce pool of available therapy. The persistence of TB and the complications from it, demand exactly this kind of innovative solution."
Bruno Rivalan, director of the French office of Global Health Advocates, hails the initiative as "a promising agreement that will allow for further development and possible access to a new drug to use in a regimen to fight TB and MDR-TB in a context of a limited TB R&D pipeline." Further, he sees this as excellent foundational work to demonstrate the importance of increasing investment in research and development of new tools to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
When G20 leaders meet in July, they have the opportunity to support innovative R&D mechanisms to foster drug development for drug-resistant infections, such as TB.
Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV. It is curable and treatable but is showing increasing resistance to traditional therapy. The latest data from the WHO shows that, worldwide, only 52 percent of TB patients with multi-drug resistance, and 28 percent of those with extensive multi-drug resistance, are treated successfully.
ACTION is a partnership of 12 locally rooted organizations around the world that advocate together to build political will and increase investments for global health. Our partners: Æquitas (India), CITAM+ (Zambia), Global Health Advocates France, Global Health Advocates India, Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium, Princess of Africa Foundation (South Africa), RESULTS International Australia, RESULTS Canada, RESULTS Japan, RESULTS Educational Fund (US), RESULTS UK, and WACI Health (Kenya).
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