Otsuka and the Stop TB Partnership's Global Drug Facility (GDF) announced a worldwide access plan for delamanid, one of only two medications approved to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the last 40 years.
The GDF is the largest supplier of quality assured TB treatments in the public sector, which gives it a unique position to catalyse uptake and expedite access to patients living in countries where TB medications are urgently needed. Launched in 2001 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the GDF was created out of a need to build an efficient system of procurement and distribution of high-quality TB drugs. Apart from procurement, the GDF provides a unique package of services, including technical assistance in TB treatment management and monitoring of TB drug use.
This innovative partnership with Otsuka opens access to over 100 low- and middle-income countries that are eligible for financing through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and that follow WHO guidelines for the proper management of MDR-TB. As part of this partnership, GDF will also include delamanid in their Strategic Rotating Stockpile to ensure treatments get to people in need as quickly as possible. Apart from establishing a formalized partnership that ensures the supply of delamanid, Otsuka and GDF will work together to support communities with education, training, technical assistance, and TB advocacy activities.
Access to a reliable supply of high quality drugs is of great importance, as patients can develop TB drug resistance as a result of poor quality drugs and unreliable supply channels. Widespread drug resistance complicates and lengthens treatment, and as the disease is airborne just like other types of TB, it poses a major public health risk. Nearly half a million people each year develop MDR-TB and of those diagnosed and enrolled in treatment, only 50% are successfully treated.
This partnership is a key component of Otsuka's wider strategy called the "FightTBack" initiative to scale up programmatic use of delamanid and fight TB through innovative R&D, ensuring responsible access to patients, optimizing patient management, and collaborative capacity building.
In line with its philosophy of addressing unmet medical needs, Otsuka is currently testing the first-ever pediatric MDR-TB formulation. Otsuka is continuing its research into innovative ways to fight TB, including development of mobile health technology for patients to receive treatment reminders on their smart phones and involvement in multiple research partnerships looking at shorter, more efficient and more patient-friendly ways to fight MDR-TB.