Anacor Pharmaceuticals today announced that it has entered into a license and research agreement with not-for-profit Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) to explore a novel anti-bacterial drug target for use in tuberculosis (TB) therapy. Under the agreement, Anacor will provide the TB Alliance with a non-exclusive, royalty-free worldwide license for TB.
Anacor will receive support from the TB Alliance for its prominent role in the joint research efforts. Anacor also announced today that it has extended an existing license and drug development agreement with not-for-profit, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to develop new therapeutics for Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT or African Sleeping Sickness), Visceral Leishmaniasis (kala azar) and Chagas disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Anacor will provide DNDi with a non-exclusive, royalty-free license for any boron-based therapeutics for neglected diseases identified through the collaboration for developing world countries.
“Anacor is committed to applying our boron chemistry platform to the development of new therapies for the treatment of neglected diseases,” said David Perry, Chief Executive Officer of Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Funds from public-private partnerships like the TB Alliance and DNDi make it possible to meet both our responsibilities to our shareholders and help reduce the burden of neglected diseases. As these programs are successful, we hope to expand our current efforts and establish programs in new disease areas.”
“Our agreement with Anacor underscores our commitment to seek innovative scientific approaches with the potential to assist in the fight against tuberculosis,” says Dr. Mel Spigelman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the TB Alliance. “Tuberculosis was responsible for nearly 1.8 million deaths in 2007 – approximately, one person every 20 seconds – and there is a significant need for novel medications to combat growing bacterial resistance to current drugs and to reduce the duration and complexity of therapy. Anacor represents the spirit of innovation we value in this arena, and we look forward to working together to identify new treatments for this devastating disease.”
“This collaboration between DNDi and Anacor addresses a critical gap in the drug development pipeline for these neglected diseases, which is the selection of new drug candidates to enter into further development,” remarked Dr. Shing Chang, R&D Director of DNDi. “As we continue our partnership with Anacor to bring some of the best scientific resources to address the needs of the most neglected patients, we’re encouraged by the excellent results and the rapid pace of our discovery efforts, which have moved from hit to a lead series in 12 months.”
To oversee Anacor’s efforts in this area, the company has appointed Eric Easom to the newly created position of Program Leader, Neglected Diseases, and he will serve as its liaison to public and private partners. Mr. Easom brings 19 years of pharmaceutical, biotech and non-profit experience to Anacor. The majority of his career was spent at Eli Lilly and Company where he served in a variety of commercial, business development and manufacturing roles. He has also held business development and commercial roles at InteKrin Therapeutics, MedImmune and McKesson. Mr. Easom has spent a number of years actively working with not-for-profits focused on neglected diseases and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board for the Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute. Mr. Easom holds an MBA from Indiana University and bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Louisville.
Every year, more than 1.6 million people worldwide die from TB. Today’s TB drugs are more than 40 years old, and a cocktail of up to four drugs must be taken for six to nine months to treat drug-sensitive disease and up to 24 months to treat drug-resistant disease. Long, demanding treatment schedules prove too much for many patients and the resulting erratic or incomplete treatment can result in drug resistance, treatment failure or death.
About Neglected Diseases
Diseases such as TB, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and human African trypanosomiasis are infectious diseases that lack commercial markets in developed countries and disproportionately affect the poorest citizens of the world. These diseases continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide and represent an enduring unmet medical need that are collectively called “neglected diseases”. Medications for these diseases are often decades old, are difficult to administer, have significant toxicities and are increasingly becoming less effective due to resistance. Of the 1,556 new drugs approved between 1975 and 2004, only 21 (1.3%) were specifically developed for neglected diseases, even though these diseases account for 11.4% of the global disease burden (Chirac, Torreele. Lancet. 2006; 1560).
About Anacor Pharmaceuticals
Anacor is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel small molecule therapeutics derived from its boron chemistry platform. Anacor has focused initially on developing topical applications of its compounds to treat fungal, bacterial and inflammatory diseases. In addition, the Company is developing systemic antiviral and antibacterial therapeutics under a research and development agreement with GlaxoSmithKline. Anacor’s most advanced product candidate is AN2690, a novel topical antifungal in development for the treatment of toenail onychomycosis, which is a fungal infection of the nail and nail bed. AN2690 is licensed to Schering-Plough Corporation under a worldwide development and commercialization agreement for all indications including the treatment of onychomycosis. For more information visit www.anacor.com.
About the TB Alliance
The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is a not-for-profit, product development partnership accelerating the discovery and development of new TB drugs that will shorten treatment, be effective against susceptible and resistant strains, be compatible with antiretroviral therapies for those HIV-TB patients currently on such therapies and improve treatment of latent infection. Working with public and private partners worldwide, the TB Alliance is leading the development of the most comprehensive portfolio of TB drug candidates in history and is committed to ensuring that approved new regimens are affordable, adopted and available to those who need them. The TB Alliance operates with funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For more information on TB drug development and the TB Alliance, please visit www.tballiance.org.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an independent, not-for-profit product development partnership working to research and develop new and improved treatments for neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), Chagas disease, and malaria. DNDi was founded in 2003 by the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) along with five research institutions in Brazil, France, India, Kenya, and Malaysia. With the objective to address unmet patient needs for these diseases, DNDi has developed the largest ever R&D portfolio for the kinetoplastid diseases and has already made available two new antimalarial treatments: “ASAQ” in 2007 with sanofi-aventis, and “ASMQ” in 2008 with Farmanguinhos in Brazil. In December 2008, DNDi, Epicentre, and MSF released promising Phase III clinical study results of NECT (nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy), which show NECT is a safe, effective treatment for the advanced stage of HAT. To date, DNDi has secured funding from a number of public and private donors, including MSF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Significant funding has come from public donors including: the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. For further information, please consult www.dndi.org.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding our ability to identify and efficiently develop product candidates using boron chemistry. These statements relate to future events and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual levels of activity, performance or achievement to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Some factors that may affect these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, undesirable effects, lack of efficacy or other developments resulting in clinical failure at later stages of development of our product candidates and unexpected termination of existing collaborations. These statements reflect the views of Anacor as of the date of this press release with respect to future events and, except as required by law, it undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise after the date of this press release.