Dr Sundeep Duggar,chief executive officer (CEO), Sphaera Pharma, Singapore.
Q: How do you view current resistant tuberculosis situation in India? What is the way forward?
Disease burden is growing significantly in India as well as sub Saharan Africa. India also has one of the world's highest burden of tuberculosis with approximately 66,000 MDR-TB cases among notified pulmonary TB cases in 2011. The incidence of multiple drug resistant (MDR) and extreme resistant (XDR) TB are on the rise and current treatments are not very effective, with long treatment regimens and significant side effects. Hence there is urgent need for the development of new anti-TB drugs that are cheaper, easily available, more effective and require a shorter treatment period.
Therefore, we didn't focus on anti-biotic approach as it's the most used one for cure. Ours is host based approach where Dr Kanury Rao, senior scientist, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) has done incredible basic work. We hope to reach the goal sooner and the advanced therapies will be very helpful for patients.
Q: What is the basis of collaboration with the THSTI and Wellcome Trust?
Sphaera Pharma (India), a subsidiary of Sphaera Pharma (Singapore), and the Drug Discovery Research Centre (DDRC) of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) have received funding from the Wellcome Trust to develop a novel, first-in-class, therapeutic for the treatment of multiple drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB.