The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has granted the German biotech Evotec €21M ($23.8M) to discover drug combinations that can reduce the duration of tuberculosis treatment, which normally takes over six months.
Evotec will use the money to test different drug combinations for tuberculosis in the preclinical stage. The partnership will last for five years, after which the partners aim to have candidate drug combinations ready for phase II clinical trials.
Tuberculosis is an old enemy that remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Patients must currently take four antibiotics for at least six months to clear the infection, and those with antibiotic-resistant forms of the condition can take up to two years to complete the regimen. Evotec aims to discover drug combinations that are safer, more effective and take less time than current tuberculosis treatments.
One of the biggest biotechs in Europe, Evotec runs many collaborations to solve the global crisis of antibiotic resistance. Earlier this year, the company launched collaborations with the non-profit organization Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership and the German research institute Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research to develop new antibiotics for drug-resistant infections.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation runs projects with other organizations to fight tuberculosis. Back in 2017, the charity pumped €33M into the UK company Immunocore, which is developing immunotherapies to fight the disease. The charity also provides grants to academic institutions researching tuberculosis, including the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
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