Sanofi-Aventis and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development have announced a collaboration to accelerate the discovery, development and clinical use of drugs against tuberculosis.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two organisations will share information on their respective TB projects and exchange insights on developments in TB drug research.

The two organisations will also consult with each other on relevant regulatory, access and clinical trial capacity strategies related to developing countries, which may open new avenues of common development in the future.

“This collaboration with Sanofi-Aventis underscores the commitment of the TB Alliance to partner with leaders in science and business to achieve our goal of making faster, better and affordable TB drug regimens available as soon as possible,” said Dr Jerome Premmereur, President and Chief Executive of the TB Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation.

Most of today’s TB drugs are more than 40 years old and must be taken for long periods of time – six to nine months for drug-sensitive disease and up to 24 months for drug-resistant disease.

Sanofi-Aventis was one of the initial drug companies to develop a treatment against the disease – it discovered rifampicin in the early 1960s and markets several other anti-TB drugs. The company is currently looking at new therapeutic approaches to the disease including vaccines and drugs with new mechanisms of action.

Meanwhile, the TB Alliance has two TB drug candidates in advanced clinical trials and 12 others in its pipeline.

More than 1.5 million people worldwide die from the disease each year.