Community groups express concern for AstraZeneca's departure from tuberculosis and urge the company to ensure continued investment in the field.
The Global Tuberculosis Community Advisory Board (TB CAB), the Community Research Advisors Group to the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (CRAG) and the Treatment Action Group (TAG) sent an open letter to AstraZeneca expressing concern over the cessation of the company’s Neglected Tropical Diseases, Tuberculosis and Malaria program.
The letter urges AstraZeneca to continue the development of compound AZD5847 for tuberculosis (TB) and calls upon the company to formally commit dedicated resources, sufficient to advance AZD5847 and other candidates for TB through clinical trials to registration and use in the field (provided safety and efficacy data continue to warrant advancement).
TB continues to kill over 1.3 million people per year, in part because existing treatment options are lengthy, difficult to tolerate, and ineffective against drug-resistant strains. The TB field urgently needs new treatment options. AZD5847 has been identified as a possible new treatment for drug-susceptible TB and/or for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
“We acknowledge AstraZeneca’s contributions to TB to date, but urge AstraZeneca to increase, not cease, investments in TB and other neglected diseases. Pfizer’s abandonment of TB, and off-loading - with no financial support - of promising TB drug candidate sutezolid to a small developer, cannot be duplicated. Only by contributing significantly to the field, through expertise and substantive financial investments, can AstraZeneca be the model of public citizenship that its peers have failed to be.”
The letter can be downloaded from here.
You can download AstraZeneca's response to the open letter from here (March 7, 2014).