The Union welcomes the Medicines Patent Pool’s first open licence agreement for tuberculosis treatment

The Union welcomes the announcement from the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) that it has signed a licence agreement with Johns Hopkins University to facilitate the clinical development of tuberculosis (TB) drug candidate sutezolid. 

This open licence is both the first for the MPP in the field of TB, as well as the first of its kind for TB. It marks a significant step in public health oriented licensing and the collaborative approach needed to develop new and more effective drugs against TB and particularly its drug-resistant strains such as multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB)

The antibiotic sutezolid has long been considered a promising investigational treatment that, if further developed in combination with other drugs, could be used to more effectively treat both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB.

The granting of an open licence will allow multiple drug developers access to sutezolid to develop it in combination with other drugs for the treatment of TB. This will help to kick-start development of faster-acting and more effective regimens to combat the global health threat presented by the TB epidemic.

The Union applauds this encouraging development and recognises the urgent need to foster international co-operation and the pooling of IP and data sharing for TB research. This approach is also being adopted in a new and innovative funding mechanism for the development of drugs and treatments for TB—the 3P Project. The Union is a key partner in the 3P project, which aims to launch later this year.

In alignment with the aims of the MPP, the 3P project calls for licencing the intellectual property and sharing of the data of TB drugs early in their development and to ensure regimen development within an open and collaborative framework.

Grania Bridgen, 3P Project Lead, said: “The Union welcomes the agreement between Medicines Patent Pool and Johns Hopkins University to licence sutezolid and enable the further development of sutezolid as a candidate in drug combination therapy for TB. This licence represents the first step towards the open and collaborative framework at the core of the 3P Project and will enable the development of new treatment combinations for TB. We hope that the clinical data for sutezolid will also be made available  to further facilitate the timely development of new treatments involving sutezolid.

“With latest figures showing the emergence of 480,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in just 12 months, progress towards the global goal of ending TB by 2030 is severely under threat. The urgent need for new treatment options has reached a critical point – today’s announcement may prove a milestone in tackling the TB epidemic.”