Eli Lilly pledges $4 million to find new TB therapies

Eli Lilly and Company has pledged more than $4 million dollars over the next four-and-a-half years to the Infectious Disease Research Institute to fund the development of new tuberculosis therapies.

The money will go towards IDRI’s continued early drug discovery research, which primarily focuses on finding new ways of fighting TB, including multidrug-resistant TB, according to

There were almost nine million new cases of TB in 2010, with approximately 500,000 considered to be multidrug-resistant, according to the World Health Organization. The most commonly used therapies against TB were developed more than 40 years ago. Experts say that more effective drugs with fewer side effects are urgently needed.

Including the recent funding, Eli Lilly and Company has given a total of $20 million to IDRI to support TB drug discovery efforts.

"Through the Initiative, we have forged strong links with IDRI's scientists with the aim of leveraging the unique drug discovery capabilities of each organization,’ Philip Hipskind, a senior research fellow at Eli Lilly and Company, said, reports.

IDRI is a member of a non-profit, public-private partnership called the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative. Founded in 2007, the Initiative combines the efforts of government agencies, philanthropic organizations, pharmaceutical companies, universities and other research institutions to fight TB.