Drug Manufacturing Process for PA-824, am Anti-TB Drug

Published Nov-16-09

A faster and more efficient drug manufacturing process for the development of new drugs against tuberculosis.

Dr. Kana M Sureshan, India

The Story:

Drug Manufacturing Process for PA-824, am Anti-TB Drug When the non-profit Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) needed to solve some drug manufacturing problems it turned to open innovation for the answers.

Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease that is still a major global health emergency. It is the leading cause of bacterial death as every 20 seconds someone dies from the disease.

The first antibiotics against the contagious condition appeared in the 1940s, but since then many drug resistant strains of the TB bacterium have emerged. The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development is dedicated to speeding up the discovery and development of new TB drugs. And open innovation is helping.

Open Innovation Provides Answers

In the spring of 2007 the organization turned to open innovation to find new methods for accelerating and simplifying the manufacturing process for a promising new drug candidate called PA-824. The challenge was posted on InnoCentive and 27 proposals were received by TB Alliance.

Advanced Drug Candidate

PA-824 is one of TB Alliance’s most advanced drug candidates which differs from most TB drugs in that it targets the bacterium’s slow-growth and rapid growth phases. Antibiotic drug treatment for TB is lengthy and arduous with up to four drugs being administered for six months. Many people don’t finish the course which contributes to increased drug resistance. And some of those drugs are more than 40 years old. PA-824 could drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to cure TB.

TB Alliance scientists sifted through the proposals and selected two winners, one based in China and the other in India. They received a $20,000 award for their problem solving skills.

The two winning solvers proposed a solution by which the route to synthesize PA-824 is reduced from five steps down to just three.

"It is rewarding and exciting to apply my expertise to create a method that will help accelerate the drug discovery process for tuberculosis, a disease that affects millions of people,” said solver Dr. Kana M Sureshan from the Institute of Life Sciences in Hyderabad, India. “I look forward to seeing this implemented and to continue my work and interest in the fields of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology to advance treatments and processes being used to fight various diseases."

And there appears to be an additional benefit to their process in that it may eliminate a reactant that’s known to irritate skin and eyes.

Open Innovation is a No-Brainer

There is an urgent need to shorten the time it takes to develop new drugs against TB as currently they are not coming out of the lab and into the world quick enough.

For TB Alliance, an organization with limited funds the open innovation route is a no-brainer. It has provided a much cheaper and more effective way of solving a complex manufacturing problem. This in turn should help to accelerate the development of such a promising drug candidate.

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