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Jul
16

What’s needed for TB: A critical analysis of the drug discovery pipeline and efforts

After attending the Gordon conference on Tuberculosis (TB) drug discovery (without breaking the rules on describing what was presented) I think I can safely make a few general comments which were already in my mind before the meeting. This week what stood out for me was the lack of knowledge of all the efforts that are going on globally in TB. No single person has attempted to summarize the various global initiatives, the multigroup collaborations, the consortia of all shapes and sizes and at all stages. When you ask colleagues you know or those you meet for the first time, they do not have a complete picture. Most of the TB initiatives are under the radar to most. Frankly if we are to make the case for more funding there needs to be an unbiased and transparent assessment of the preclinical and clinical efforts, the funding situation in each country has to also undergo some scrutiny and any non essential duplication could be avoided.
How could this be remedied. A team needs to be formed that can cover the biology and chemistry as well as some of the funding elements and write it up succinctly. While there are pipelines for drugs, there is no definitive source of all the preclinical hits or leads. There is no summary table of all the consortia or major funded collaborations in TB. It’s not clear what consortia are open or closed to others not in them. It’s not even clear what efforts are being made to learn from the data that has been generated historically or is being generated (e.g. all the screening data). For what targets is there duplication of effort, which have failed, or considered most or less valuable?  What libraries have been missed? What chemical space has been covered and what should be done next (most do not truly understand the drug discovery process)? This kind of analysis probably happens frequently in many other diseases but I think it is sorely needed for TB. Is there anyone willing to help do this?

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