Science Pool

Identification of β-Lactams Active Against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

Rising antimicrobial resistance challenges our ability to combat bacterial infections. The problem is acute for tuberculosis (TB), the leading cause of death from infection before COVID-19.

Here, we developed a framework for multiple pharmaceutical companies to share proprietary information and compounds with multiple laboratories in the academic and government sectors for a broad examination of the ability of β-lactams to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In the TB Drug Accelerator (TBDA), a consortium organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, individual pharmaceutical companies collaborate with academic screening laboratories.

  • In this paper we describe strategies used to prioritize thousands of β-lactams from multiple companies into a small test set for further characterization.
  • In a striking contrast to historical expectation, 18% of β-lactams screened were active against Mtb, many without a β-lactamase inhibitor.
  • One potent cephaloporin was active in Mtb-infected mice.

The steps outlined here can serve as a blueprint for multiparty, intra- and intersector collaboration in the development of anti-infective agents.