Seattle, WA | July 25, 2012

IDRI’s drug discovery efforts continue to grow with a recently awarded five-year grant for $3.7 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The grant was awarded to Tanya Parish, Ph.D., IDRI VP TB Drug Discovery, and is aimed at determining how newly discovered compounds kill bacteria, and subsequently using that information to find new drug targets, with a particular focus on tuberculosis.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of human tuberculosis, a devastating infectious disease that kills nearly two million and infects more than eight million people each year. There is an increasing threat from multi-drug resistant and extremely drug resistant strains, demonstrating the need to develop more effective, faster acting drugs the prime focus of IDRI’s Drug Discovery Program, led by Parish.

“In order to develop new TB drugs, we need to understand which metabolic processes are the most important for bacterial survival and pathogenesis, explained Parish. Chemical entities can be powerful probes for the identification of key cellular processes underpinning survival.”

However, according to Parish, most recent research has focused on genetic approaches to identifying essential genes, and there has been little progress in identifying the pathways that effective anti-bacterial compounds target. Recently, a number of novel compounds with unknown targets have been identified. With this new grant, we propose to apply a combination of techniques in conjunction with several compound classes to identify vulnerable pathways, which can be thoroughly characterized using compounds as chemical probes,” she said.

“Together these methods will enable us to identify the pathways and specific proteins that are targeted by each compound, said Steven Reed, Ph.D., Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of IDRI. These targets will form the basis for future drug discovery and development, particularly related to TB.”

Contacts:

IDRI: Lee Schoentrup | 206.518.6290 | lee.schoentrup@idri.org