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  • European Accelerator for Tuberculosis Swings into Action
    The ERA4TB Consortium in Madrid
  • Paul Wyatt

European Accelerator for Tuberculosis Swings into Action

Feb 21 2020 Read 680 Times

Representatives of more than 30 organisations from 13 countries attended a kick-off meeting in Madrid (Jan 29-30) as partners in the newly formed European Regime Accelerator for Tuberculosis (ERA4TB) set on developing improved tuberculosis treatment and progressing new candidate drugs into clinical trials. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 10 million people became ill with tuberculosis in 2018 and over 1.6 million died; the threat of antibiotic-resistance also pose a major world-wide threat.

David Barros-Aguirre, Project Lead for ERA4TB and VP and Head of Tuberculosis Research, Global Health R&D, GSK said, “We are very excited about the start of ERA4TB, a unique collaborative project in the field of tuberculosis where the expertise from public partners and a pipeline of promising preclinical candidates from pharmaceutical companies merge to accelerate the development of novel clinical candidates. The ultimate goal is to deliver an innovative and differentiated combination regimen for the treatment of TB, which can play a key role in the elimination agenda.”

According to Juan José Vaquero, project coordinator from UC3M (University Carlos III Madrid) and leader of the imaging team, “ERA4TB will change the paradigm for the development of new drugs by adopting a flexible and modular collaboration scheme in which research efforts can be rapidly mobilised to where they are most needed allowing several molecules to be investigated simultaneously. This will save both time and money.”

Stewart Cole, Scientific leader of ERA4TB and President of the Institut Pasteur, said “ERA4TB has assembled an impressive array of resources to seamlessly harness the agility and innovation of academia with the pragmatism and scientific expertise of pharma. I am confident that this powerful European initiative will speed the path to TB elimination.”

Professor Paul Wyatt heads the University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit which has an established track record in tackling infectious and tropical diseases including TB. “We are excited to be part of this international initiative which allows us to build upon our existing efforts to target new treatments for tuberculosis. We have all the capabilities required to work with partners to deliver preclinical candidates.

“This initiative improves our options to take them towards patients. By better uniting the research and drug discovery community we can improve our chances of delivering new, safe and effective treatments for this devastating disease, which still avoidably affects millions of people every year.”

ERA4TB funding of £200 million is sponsored by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the European pharmaceutical industry (via EFPIA) under the auspices of the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) with support from the TB Alliance, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and University Of Dundee.

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