New TB drug wins top accolade


Janssen wins the 2014 Prix Galien Orphan Drug Award

The first TB drug to be approved in 40 years was celebrated at the 2014 Prix Galien Awards this week. The Prix Galien recognises the contribution that new medicines make to the lives of people with life‐threatening conditions.

London’s House of Commons played host to a glittering ceremony where the drug Sirturo® (bedaquiline), developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, beat off a strong field of candidates to take the 2014 Orphan Drug Award.

Sirturo has been developed as part of combination therapy in adults with pulmonary multi-drug resistant TB, and is administered by directly observed therapy.

Chairman of the judging panel, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, said: “Two million people will develop MDR‐TB between 2011 and 2015. It is a WHO priority disease. There has also been an increase in the number of MDR‐TB cases in the UK over the last decade. Treatment is complex, requiring years of medication and extensive medical support – with less than 50% of patients having a successful outcome.”

“It is against this background that Sirturo emerged as a clear winner. The panel was impressed with its novel mechanism of action. Its development represents the first step forward we have seen in the treatment of TB for more than 40 years. Moreover, it will have important public health benefits by reducing the spread of MDR‐TB and preventing progression to more resistant forms.”

TB Alert’s Chief Executive, Mike Mandelbaum, who attended the award ceremony, said “After so many years without any new drugs being developed for TB, it was great to see Sirturo announced as a clear winner of the orphan, or rare conditions, category. Let’s hope this marks just the beginning of the road for the development of new TB drugs, including innovations that shorten the six month treatment regimen for drug-sensitive strains of the disease.”

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