Partnership between NIAID and Sequella yields promising new TB drug for clinical testing

September 12, 2006

The need for new drugs against tuberculosis (TB) has never been more urgent, as the global burden of the disease continues to grow, and the incidence of extensive drug-resistant (XDR) TB, a virtually untreatable disease, continues to rise. A key component in advancing new health care interventions for TB is the creation of productive partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health.

The success of one such public-private partnership has been demonstrated by Sequella, Inc., which recently received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to enter Phase I clinical trials with their TB drug candidate SQ109.

SQ109 was discovered in NIAID's intramural laboratories in 1999, and developed with extensive support from NIAID as well as the National Cancer Institute/NIAID Inter-Institute Program for the Development of AIDS-related Therapeutics. (For the history of SQ109 development with NIAID funding, see "Kitchen Sink" at www.niaid.nih.gov/news/focuson/tb/research/treating/default.htm).

These efforts are part of a wide array of NIAID-supported TB research projects, from fundamental research to understand Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes TB, through product-oriented translational and clinical studies of potential methods of TB prevention and treatment. The successful transition of SQ109 from the laboratory to clinical testing not only represents a major milestone for the NIAID TB program and Sequella, but also speaks to the successes public-private partnerships can yield.
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To view Sequella's recent news release on SQ109, see www.sequella.com.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. Christine F. Sizemore, Ph.D., is Acting Chief of the Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases Section in the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Barbara E. Laughon, Ph.D., is Chief of the Complications and Co-Infections Research Branch of the Therapeutics Research Program in the NIAID Division of AIDS.

Media inquiries can be directed to the NIAID News and Public Information Branch at 301-402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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