In recent years the incidence of TB, especially multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), has increased alarmingly. The 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) report on TB states that globally there were an estimated 9.27 million incident cases of TB in 2007. This is an increase from 8.3 million cases in 2000 and 6.6 million cases in 1990.
By signing the MOU, Academia Sinica agrees to join The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative, among whose primary members are Eli Lilly and Company and IDRI. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the U.S. National Institutes of Health also has an agreement with Eli Lilly and Company and IDRI to participate in the TB Drug Discovery Initiative. Academia Sinica will join the initiative as a Contributing Member and will contribute to the research, development and discovery of new TB drugs.
Even under the best of circumstances, 30-40 percent of XDR-TB cases are untreatable. Treating TB, like HIV, requires a cocktail or combination of drugs, not just one. Thus there is an urgent need for multiple new drugs. TB drug development is so complex that no single company or institution has the resources or expertise to do it alone.
"The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative is founded on the belief that public-private partnerships make the impossible possible," said Gail Cassell, Ph.D., Lilly's vice president of scientific affairs and distinguished research scholar. "The addition of Academia Sinica to these efforts is significant. To have Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, president of Academia Sinica and one of the most outstanding chemists in the world, on our Steering Committee will provide invaluable guidance to our efforts."
"I am pleased that Academia Sinica has the opportunity to participate in this important project," said President Chi-Huey Wong, Ph.D., of Academia Sinica. "I hope that we can make contributions in the areas related to genome sequencing and high-throughput drug discovery."
"The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative has made good progress and we are excited to welcome Academia Sinica as a contributing member," said Curt Malloy, senior vice president of operations and general counsel at IDRI. "Their proprietary library of more than two million compounds adds critical chemical diversity, and their access to some of the world's most advanced technologies in high-throughput screening and genomic sequencing enhances our chances for success."
About The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative
The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative is a not-for-profit public-private partnership with a mission to accelerate early-stage drug discovery by bringing together specialists from around the world for the systematic exploration of vast, private molecular libraries in search of new TB treatments. Headquartered in Seattle, The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative includes representatives of government agencies, philanthropic organizations, pharmaceutical companies, universities and other research institutions. Its most important goal is filling the pipeline for future TB drugs. More information about the Initiative is available at www.TBDrugDiscovery.org.
About Academia Sinica
Academia Sinica, the most preeminent academic institution in Taiwan, was founded in 1928 to promote and undertake scholarly research in sciences and humanities, and to nurture new talent. More information about the academy is available at www.sinica.edu.tw.
Many of the 24 research institutes and seven research centers are now headed by world-renowned scholars and staffed by highly trained, motivated, and creative young investigators. Major strides have also been made toward raising the standards of academic research, to meet new challenges in the new century. Aside from placing greater emphasis on opening up new areas of intellectual endeavor, Academia Sinica is also taking a leadership role in launching new initiatives in applied areas to meet a broad spectrum of social needs in Taiwan.
IDRI is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities, IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the lab to the people who need it most. For more information, go to www.idri.org.
For this Initiative, IDRI is providing substantial expertise in microbiology, molecular biology and chemistry, as well as managing the Initiative's laboratory. IDRI serves as the principal coordinator for all partnership efforts.
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.
For this Initiative, Lilly has opened access to its greatest assets, a library of 500,000 compounds. The company also is lending its immense drug discovery expertise and organizational savvy, and is contributing the latest, most innovative technologies used in drug discovery to be applied to the search for new drugs to fight TB. The $15 million Lilly has given to support this historic undertaking is part of Lilly's $135 million commitment to control MDR-TB through The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, which mobilizes 18 partners on five continents to stop the spread of the disease and save lives. Additional information can be found at www.lillymdr-tb.com.