The collaboration will be focused on the discovery of efficacious inhibitors of PknB, which is needed for the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB). The TB Alliance and Schrödinger have been collaborating on drug design and have had success in identifying highly potent inhibitors using Schrödinger’s computational platform.
Shi-Yi Liu, senior vice president of corporate communications at Schrödinger told us the joint research team is “advancing to the next stage with this three-year collaboration to inform selection of a development candidate.” In the next stage, the partnership will focus on in vivo efficacy studies and lead optimization.
Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of the TB Alliance, said in a press release that the pipeline for new TB treatments “demands continuous innovation.” Liu added, “TB is the leading cause of infectious disease deaths in the world. There’s a significant need for more powerful treatments that will take effect more quickly.”
The need for innovative treatments relates to the rate of drug-resistant TB. Five hundred and fifty thousand cases of TB were resistant to treatment in 2017.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.8bn people are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In 2017, 10m people became ill from TB, and 1.6m died.