Sphaera Pharma (India), a subsidiary of Sphaera Pharma Singapore, and the Drug Discovery Research Centre (DDRC) of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute have received funding from The Wellcome Trust to develop a novel, first-in-class, therapeutic for the treatment of multiple drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB). The details of the funding were not disclosed.
The treatment is based on a unique approach, first identified at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology that targets a host protein. The approach has the potential to be more effective, and is less likely to result in development of drug-resistance. It is also expected to work in conjunction with current therapies.
The incidence of MDR and XDR TB are on the rise and current treatments are not very effective, with long treatment regimens and significant side effects. Hence there is urgent need for the development of new anti-TB drugs that are cheaper, easily available, and more effective and require a shorter treatment period. India also has one of the world’s highest burdens of tuberculosis with approximately 66,000 MDR-TB (Multiple Drug Resistant TB) cases among notified pulmonary TB cases in 2011.
Dr. Sundeep Dugar, chief executive officer, Sphaera Pharma Singapore, indicated that this initiative has the potential to deliver a first-in-class novel therapy for TB. Sphaera Pharma is an integrated drug discovery and development company with presence in India, Singapore and the US.
The Drug Discovery Research Centre (DDRC) is a niche Centre of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the department of biotechnology, ministry of science and technology, government of India.
The Wellcome Trust provides over £700 million a year to support in science, and the application of research to medicine.