Nine million people become sick with TB every year.
Nearly two million die from TB each year.
Each person sick with TB infects 10-15 more each year.
TB is a widespread and growing global health threat, and we are committed to eradicating this deadly disease. Toward this end, we are working to develop products to address three critical aspects of disease control:
A key component of our drug development strategy is our membership in the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative, a unique public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating early-stage TB drug discovery.
- Vaccines that prevent and fight infection
- Diagnostic tests that rapidly and effectively identify infected individuals, enabling earlier treatment and appropriate measures to prevent spread
- Antibiotics that effectively eliminate even drug-resistant strains of TB
Making a Difference
IDRI was instrumental in the discovery and early evaluation of the first protein-based TB vaccine candidate. Even as this vaccine candidate continues to advance through the development process, our team is working on a next-generation vaccine that could prevent and potentially treat multi drug-resistant TB.
In addition to our vaccine program, we also are focused on developing a rapid and effective TB diagnostic test. Our efforts in this area are supported by our expansive collection of TB antigens — the world's largest. We also acquired exclusive rights to MicronJet, an intradermal delivery system that enables improved tuberculin skin testing. With our partner, Chembio, we have developed a prototype diagnostic test that rapidly detects active TB and would provide significant advantages over current diagnostic methods.
Our commitment to discovering and developing new TB therapies extends beyond our participation in the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative. We have built a state-of-the-art assay development, screening, and chemistry group to support our in-house discovery activities and also have in-licensed several promising mid-stage TB drug candidates.
Although TB statistics are already staggering, the situation is getting worse. Because of AIDS and new drug-resistant TB strains, the World Health Organization declared TB to be a global emergency. Almost a third of the world's population is exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and possibly carries the infection without any sign of the disease. Those who become sick with active TB are contagious. If a vaccine cannot prevent infection, therapeutics are essential.
What is Needed to Stop TB?
Rapid, more effective options are urgently needed. Although TB is among the most serious infections, there is a lack of effective tools for controlling this disease—particularly in developing countries. The current vaccine, BCG, is widely used but only partially effective. There are no simple and effective diagnostic tests available that would allow early detection and treatment of TB. New drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis have emerged, increasing the need for faster and more effective antibiotics.