The Australian Government, through the Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative, has announced a new AUD 17 million grant to support work with TB Alliance through its Product Development and Access Partnerships program. The funding will contribute toward the completion of the NC-009 Pan-Phase 2 clinical trial and also help establish and sustain the Peer-to-Peer Learning for Innovative Cures (PeerLINC) Knowledge Hub in Manila, which will disseminate best practices to help speed the programmatic implementation of innovative, effective tuberculosis treatments, including the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended six-month, all-oral BPaL/M regimens for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB).

“Drug-resistant TB is an increasing threat to the health and well-being both in Australia and in our neighbouring countries, and in many low- and middle-income countries around the world,” said the Hon. Pat Conroy, Minister for International Development and the Pacific. “We are proud of our continued support of the work of TB Alliance, and to help in the rollout of the BPaL/M regimens and to support the development of the next generation of new TB treatments. These are important steps in the effort to end TB as a major health threat by 2030.”

PeerLINC, which will operate in partnership between TB Alliance and the Tropical Disease Foundation, Inc., will provide practical training, guidance, technical support, field experience, tools, and materials to national TB programs covering a wide range of topics including clinical management, diagnostics, drug safety monitoring, programmatic management, community engagement, and health economics. PeerLINC will continue to guide countries after completion of initial training, as countries work to implement and integrate the BPaL/M regimens into their national tuberculosis programs.

The NC-009 trial, which launched in November 2023, will evaluate the safety and efficacy of a combination of a new experimental compound, TBAJ-876, with pretomanid and linezolid, components of the BPaL regimen. This new combination has the potential to shorten and improve treatment for both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Results from preclinical and Phase 1 studies presented at the Union Conference showed that TBAJ-876, when compared to bedaquiline (an approved TB medicine in the same drug class), eliminated TB bacteria faster and had a potentially improved safety profile.

Australia has long been a leader in the global health community, and we greatly appreciate their unwavering support in the battle to end TB,” said Dr. Mel Spigelman, President and CEO of TB Alliance. “This funding will contribute both to rapidly expanding access to improved treatments, and also to developing the next generation of even more effective TB cures. This award exemplifies the sort of global commitment and political will needed if we hope to, one day, end the TB pandemic.”