Geneva, 28 October 2019 — The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced a licence agreement with Pfizer to facilitate the clinical development of sutezolid, an investigational medicine for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). The drug candidate, if further developed in combination with other drugs, could be used to more effectively treat patients diagnosed with TB, particularly multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
“TB, especially MDR-TB, has become a health security threat and finding new treatments for patients is now an urgent global public health priority. We must accelerate progress if we aim to put an end to the epidemic by 2030,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool. “The licence agreement we just signed with Pfizer is key for any organisation willing to further develop sutezolid and make it available for people who need it the most, especially in low- and middle-income countries.”
Pfizer is granting MPP a non-exclusive, worldwide and royalty-free licence allowing potential future MPP sublicensees to access Pfizer’s preclinical, phase I and phase IIa* clinical study data and results with the aim to further study, develop and make available this potential important component of new TB regimens. MPP had already signed a licence with Johns Hopkins University in 2017 covering sutezolid in combination therapy, which did not include preclinical and clinical study data. This added element provided by the Pfizer-MPP licence can facilitate faster development of sutezolid.
“We recognize there is an important patient need for new tuberculosis treatments, and this partnership with Medicines Patent Pool will help provide researchers globally with an opportunity to partner in and to further progress the clinical development of sutezolid,” said Charles Knirsch, MD, MPH, Medical/Clinical Global Health Partners Lead, Emerging Markets, Pfizer Inc. “If sutezolid advances further in clinical development for the treatment of multi-drug and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis, we believe this partnership could be a significant step forward with regards to advancing global public health and aiding the interests of patients with tuberculosis who may benefit greatly from the development of this potential treatment option.”
According to the World Health Organization, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent (above HIV/AIDS). In 2018, 10 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.5 million died from the disease, including 251 000 among people living with HIV for whom TB is the leading killer.
Sutezolid is an oxazolidinone antibiotic in the same class as the commercially available and WHO-recommended MDR-TB treatment linezolid. The drug candidate reached phase IIa clinical development. However, there has been no further development of the treatment since 2013.
Organisations interested in signing a sublicence with the Medicines Patent Pool are invited to click here for more information.
*Article updated on 30 October to include mention of “phase IIa”: “Pfizer is granting MPP a non-exclusive, worldwide and royalty-free licence allowing potential future MPP sublicensees to access Pfizer’s preclinical, phase I and phase IIa clinical study data and results with the aim to further study, develop and make available this potential important component of new TB regimens.”
The Medicines Patent Pool is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries. Through its innovative business model, MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organisations, industry, patient groups and other stakeholders, to prioritise and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations. To date, MPP has signed agreements with ten patent holders for thirteen HIV antiretrovirals, one HIV technology platform, three hepatitis C direct-acting antivirals and a tuberculosis treatment. MPP was founded by Unitaid, which serves as sole funder for MPP’s activities in HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis.
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