TOKYO and New York, March 31, 2021  - Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., “Astellas” ) and TB Alliance (President and CEO: Mel Spigelman, M.D.), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis (TB) today announced that they have entered into a new collaborative research (“Hit-to-Lead PJ”) agreement to identify lead compounds for the treatment of TB.

TB is a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can be fatal in the worst cases. In 2019, 10 million people were diagnosed with TB, and as many as 1.4 million people died of the disease*1. TB is responsible for economic devastation and the cycle of poverty and illness that entraps families, communities and even entire countries. In recent years, the emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is resistant to available TB drugs, has made the disease deadlier and treatment more difficult. 

Astellas and TB Alliance have conducted joint research (“Screening PJ”) for exploration of new compounds for Mycobacterium tuberculosis since October 2017. The hit compounds appear to be unique in their structures compared with TB drugs in use or under development. They also appear not to share the mechanism of action with the existing TB drugs suggesting activity against drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The Hit-to-Lead PJ aims to identify lead compounds with improved pharmacological activity, pharmacokinetics, and safety by utilizing multiple hit compounds obtained from the Screening PJ. The Hit-to-Lead PJ is going to be funded by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund*2(“GHIT Fund”).

Guided by its corporate philosophy, Astellas’ main efforts to expand Access to Health lie in discovering, developing and providing innovative medicines for patients. To improve Access to Health, Astellas has identified four areas where we can leverage our strengths, technologies and expertise to contribute to better global health. These areas are “creating innovation”, “enhancing availability”, “strengthening healthcare system” and “improving health literacy”. This initiative is one of the “creating innovation” activities.

TB Alliance manages the largest pipeline of TB therapeutics with over 30 projects under active development. As a product development partnership, it relies on close collaboration with organizations like Astellas and GHIT to advance the discovery, development, and delivery of new drugs and regimens. TB Alliance is committed to ensuring that all new TB drugs and regimens it develops are accessible to those who need them.


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