Stony Brook University is partnering with French drugmaker Sanofi to study a potential new treatment for tuberculosis, based on chemical compounds discovered in labs at the school's Institute of Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery.
In an announcement, Stony Brook said it had embarked on a "multi-year research collaboration" with Sanofi, but officials would not discuss financial terms of the deal. The compounds, now being tested on animals, promise to inhibit bacterial cell growth and target dormant cells that cause the disease and its symptoms, said Iwao Ojima, director of the Stony Brook institute.
Ojima said he hopes the research partnership will lead to human testing of a potential tuberculosis treatment in just two years that could shorten treatment times and target strains of tuberculosis that are more resistant to traditional antibiotics.
Tuberculosis bacteria typically attack the lungs and can cause patients to cough up blood and have chest pain, weakness and fever, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 12 million people worldwide suffer from active tuberculosis infections, said Stony Brook, citing CDC estimates.
"Sanofi’s research collaboration with Stony Brook demonstrates Sanofi’s commitment to work with partners to develop treatments for diseases with unmet and growing medical needs, including neglected diseases such as tuberculosis," the drug company said in a statement.
Ojima said, “This is an exciting collaboration as we partner with a global pharmaceutical leader in developing a new and efficacious TB drug based on our discovery.”
Above, Prof. Iwao Ojima, director of Stony Brook's Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery