The tuberculosis drug discovery and development pipeline and emerging drug targets.

Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, Volume: 5, Issue: 6
January 29, 2015
Khisimuzi Mdluli K, Takushi Kaneko T, Anna Upton A

The recent accelerated approval for use in extensively drug-resistant and multidrug-resistant-tuberculosis (MDR-TB) of two first-in-class TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, has reinvigorated the TB drug discovery and development field. However, although several promising clinical development programs are ongoing to evaluate new TB drugs and regimens, the number of novel series represented is few. The global early-development pipeline is also woefully thin. To have a chance of achieving the goal of better, shorter, safer TB drug regimens with utility against drug-sensitive and drug-resistant disease, a robust and diverse global TB drug discovery pipeline is key, including innovative approaches that make use of recently acquired knowledge on the biology of TB. Fortunately, drug discovery for TB has resurged in recent years, generating compounds with varying potential for progression into developable leads. In parallel, advances have been made in understanding TB pathogenesis. It is now possible to apply the lessons learned from recent TB hit generation efforts and newly validated TB drug targets to generate the next wave of TB drug leads. Use of currently underexploited sources of chemical matter and lead-optimization strategies may also improve the efficiency of future TB drug discovery. Novel TB drug regimens with shorter treatment durations must target all subpopulations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis existing in an infection, including those responsible for the protracted TB treatment duration. This review summarizes the current TB drug development pipeline and proposes strategies for generating improved hits and leads in the discovery phase that could help achieve this goal.