FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Seattle | March 23, 2018: IDRI’s tuberculosis drug discovery efforts continue to expand with a recently awarded grant extension of $3.8 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The additional funding was awarded to Tanya Parish, Ph.D., IDRI’s Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery, and supplements an earlier grant awarded in 2010 and extended in 2014, for a total of $11.6 million. The grant extension is focused on hit-to-lead optimization of early TB drug candidates with the ultimate goal of producing more effective drugs that require a shorter course of treatment. To date, IDRI scientists have screened more than 500,000 compounds for potential drug targets that can be further developed.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of human tuberculosis, a devastating infectious disease that kills about 1.7 million and infects more than 10 million people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is an increasing threat from multi-drug resistant and extremely drug resistant strains, demonstrating the need to develop more effective, cheaper and faster-acting drugs – the prime focus of IDRI’s Drug Discovery Program, led by Parish.

IDRI is one of the founding members of the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA), which aims to identify new drugs that work differently than existing drugs to kill bacteria. In addition to IDRI, the partnership includes nine pharmaceutical companies, seven major universities, two research institutes, one nonprofit product development partnership, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The TBDA offers a new approach that addresses bottlenecks in the traditional drug development cycle. By focusing on early collaboration, as well as sharing data and compounds, the partners avoid redundancy, maximize efficiency and overcome competitive barriers.

“We are excited to continue our work in developing new drugs for tuberculosis as part of this ground breaking partnership; our new funding will allow us to expand efforts in developing drugs that can shorten therapy and tackle antibiotic resistance, which continues to be a worldwide threat to public health,” said Parish.

IDRI is also a founding member of the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative, 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. According to Parish, the Lilly initiative and the TBDA are important, productive and complementary programs that move TB drug discovery forward.

About IDRI: As a nonprofit global health organization, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) takes a comprehensive approach to combat infectious diseases, combining the high-quality science of a research organization with the product development capabilities of a biotech company to create new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. Founded in 1993, IDRI has 125 employees headquartered in Seattle with nearly 100 partners/collaborators around the world. For more information, visit www.idri.org.

Contacts:

IDRI: Lee Schoentrup | 206.858.6064 | lee.schoentrup@idri.org