Boston Business Journal by Julie M. Donnelly, Reporter
Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 1:52pm ESTUK-based drug giant AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN) announced it has launched a Phase 2 clinical trial in South Africa with its experimental therapy for tuberculosis, called AZD5847.
The drug candidate was developed jointly by scientists at AstraZeneca’s Waltham, Mass. site, which is focused on infection and oncology, and the company’s TB research team in Bangalore, India.
AZD5847 belongs to a class of antibiotics that target Gram-positive bacteria and mycobacteria by stopping the creation of proteins that are essential to bacteria’s survival. This potential treatment is being tested on patients with TB, including those who are also infected with HIV. TB, which causes 1.4 million deaths per year, is the leading infectious cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS, the company said.
“AZD5847 is one part of AstraZeneca’s ongoing commitment to conducting research and collaborating across industry, academia, and government to develop novel treatments for TB and help stop the spread of the disease,”Manos Perros, head of the AstraZeneca Infection Innovative Medicines Unit, said in a statement. “AstraZeneca’s intent is to work with partners to test the contribution of AZD5847 in further clinical trials as part of one or more next-generation combination therapies.”
The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), within the National Institutes of Health. Combating new drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis is a focus of government and non-governmental agencies worldwide, including the United Nations. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 220,000 to 400,000 multi-drug resistant TB cases occurred in 2011.
No new TB drugs have reached the market since the 1960s, according to WHO.
After service in the British SAS Regiment the author became a physician and then an orthopaedic surgeon.
He has held professorial positions in Canada, Vietnam and the United States, practiced and taught orthopaedic surgery in three continents and in several wars.
He has extensive experience as an expert witness in court. Somewhere along the way, time was found to operate a four hundred acre mixed farm, a one hundred seat restaurant and to obtain a licence as a flying instructor.
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