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Tuberculosis

The Need

One of the most ancient diseases known to mankind, TB remains a global threat today, with nearly 1.5 million people dying each year from the disease. It has recently surpassed HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.. One-third of the world population has latent TB – meaning they are infected with the bacteria (M. tuberculosis) that causes the disease but not actively suffering from the disease – providing a potential reservoir of infection if the disease moved into an active state. Drug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis have emerged, increasing the need for new solutions to combat this deadly disease.

Our Focus

While there is a vaccine (BCG) used to prevent TB, it has limited efficacy, particularly in adults, and has not successfully controlled the disease. TB drugs are available but require lengthy courses of treatment and can be expensive; the rise of drug resistance highlights the need for new drugs.

IDRI is developing both drugs and vaccines for TB.
    Description: Rhea TB Group
  • VACCINES: IDRI’s TB vaccine candidate has been designed by IDRI scientists to recognize both active TB (when a person has TB disease, is infectious and is suffering from symptoms of the disease, such as fever, coughing and weight loss), and latent TB (when a person is infected with M. tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB, but is not symptomatic and is not infectious) The candidate, ID93 + GLA-SE, is composed of a recombinant fusion-protein antigen plus IDRI’s proprietary adjuvant, GLA-SE, which has been previously tested in humans. ID93 + GLA-SE elicits a multi-functional TH1 response when delivered intramuscularly and limits both pulmonary and disseminated infection following exposure to aerosolized M.tuberculosis. IDRI’s vaccine candidate has also shown additional potential advantages, including efficacy against both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive strains of M. tuberculosis in animal studies as well as efficacy in drug-shortening regimens.

  • DRUGS: Researchers in IDRI’s Tuberculosis Discovery program reached an important milestone: they have now screened more than half a million compounds, continuing the identification of new leads and drug targets for tuberculosis with the ultimate goal of producing new drugs to treat TB. IDRI is a founding member of the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative – headquartered at IDRI – and the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA). The Lilly initiative is a unique public-private partnership with Eli Lilly and Company and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with a focus on the discovery of new anti-tuberculosis drugs. The TBDA was founded as a partnership of seven pharmaceutical companies and five other organizations, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to target the discovery of new TB drugs by collaborating on early-stage drug discovery for tuberculosis.

Our Efforts
  • IDRI’s multi-disciplinary team of microbiologists, biochemists and chemists study the biology of TB and test thousands of potential drugs in our screening facility to find new compounds that kill the TB bacteria.

  • Our team tests compounds for their ability to prevent TB proteins from functioning normally, while developing novel screens using conditions that mimic those the TB bacteria encounters in the human body.

  • IDRI is a founding member of both the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative and the TB Drug Accelerator, which include a variety of partners including pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, with the goal of filling the pipeline with new TB drugs.

  • IDRI’s scientists were instrumental in the discovery and early evaluation of the first protein-based TB vaccine candidate to enter clinical trials. This vaccine candidate is now owned by GlaxoSmithKline.

  • IDRI’s current vaccine candidate (a fusion of four recombinant proteins and IDRI’s proprietary adjuvant) is effective against MDR TB strains. This vaccine has moved through initial clinical trials in the U.S., and is now being tested in South Africa, which has one of the largest burdens of TB in the world.

  • IDRI has produced the world’s largest collection of TB antigens and screened them for promising immune-prophylactic, therapeutic and diagnostic potential.

Next Steps
Description: TB Pippette
  • Conduct clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy of IDRI’s vaccine to shorten therapy of active disease.

  • Conduct clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy of IDRI’s vaccine to prevent infection.

  • Screen novel chemical compound libraries to identify effective drugs to treat active disease.

  • Develop more effective tools to detect TB infection.



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