IDRI Awarded Grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Identify Candidates for Novel TB Drugs

SEATTLE, Jan. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) today announced it has received a multi-million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for "Chemical genomics for the identification of targets and leads in tuberculosis." The purpose of the grant is to identify new leads and new drug targets suitable for further drug development, with the ultimate goal of producing new drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB). The grant is part of the Foundation's TB Drug Accelerator program.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly two million people die of TB each year. Approximately 9 million people are newly infected with TB annually, and half a million cases are resistant to the multiple drugs that once effectively treated the disease.

IDRI will identify and evaluate promising new drug-like compounds which are active against the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, using medium- and high- throughput screens. The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative, of which IDRI is a member, will play a critical role in the work by providing IDRI access to a library of approximately 800,000 compounds belonging to Eli Lilly and Company. IDRI will leverage its expertise in molecular and microbial biology to identify novel targets for future drug screening.

Tanya Parish, Director of Drug Discovery at IDRI and Principal Investigator on the project, said, "We are extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to further our work in TB drug discovery with this grant."

"We are excited about the momentum this award provides to our TB drug discovery program," added Steve Reed, Head of Research and Development and founder of IDRI.

Ultimately, the project will result in identifying promising compounds that can be further developed into new drugs to treat TB.

About the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people — especially those with the fewest resources — have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About IDRI – Translating science into global health solutions

IDRI is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities — including early stage drug discovery, preclinical testing, manufacturing, and clinical trials — IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the laboratory to the people who need it most.

About the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative

The Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative is a not-for-profit public-private partnership with a mission to accelerate early-stage drug discovery by bringing together specialists from around the world for the systematic exploration of vast, private molecular libraries in search of new TB treatments. Its most important goal is to refill the pipeline for future TB drugs.

For more information, go to www.idri.org  

SOURCE Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)

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