Sanofi Targets Tuberculosis Treatments

July 8, 2011

Sanofi has entered into a research collaboration with the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York to develop new anti-infectives that aim to both shorten the course of treatment for tuberculosis and provide effective therapies against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of the disease.

Sanofi has entered into a research collaboration with the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York to develop new anti-infectives that aim to both shorten the course of treatment for tuberculosis and provide effective therapies against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of the disease.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Sanofi will provide 80,000 chemical compounds to Weill Cornell, where the compounds will be screened to assess their ability to inhibit the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Sanofi and Weill Cornell will then determine whether any compounds should be brought forward for optimization and further development.

In a statement, Carl Nathan, R.A. Ress Pritchett professor of microbiology and chairman of the department of Microbiology & Immunology at Weill Cornell, explained: “Through partnering Sanofi’s expertise in the characterization, development and commercialization of drugs worldwide with our laboratory’s screening capabilities, we have the opportunity to bring our research to the frontlines of the fight against TB.”

According to the press statement, more than 1.7 million people worldwide die from TB every year. In addition, many of today’s TB drugs are more than 40 years old and must be taken for 6–9 months for drug-sensitive strains and up to 24 months for drug-resistant strains.

“Since discovering rifampicin in the early 1960s, Sanofi has continued to pursue new therapeutic approaches to combat TB, including new vaccines and drug candidates with new mechanisms of action,” Eilas Zerhouni, president of global at Sanofi, said in the statement. “This research collaboration with Weill Cornell will enable us to explore the potential of our existing compound library and pool the extensive knowledge of Dr. Nathan and his colleagues with Sanofi’s drug development expertise to benefit TB patients worldwide in continuation of our long standing commitment to global health.”

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