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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 2 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.