A public-private consortium named UNITE4TB has been launched in the EU to enhance the clinical development of safe and cost-effective treatments for tuberculosis (TB).

The €185m collaboration involves 30 partners from 13 countries.

As part of the seven-year project, the partners will work to expedite and advance the clinical assessment of combinations of current and new drugs for TB.

The aim is to deliver new and highly active anti-TB therapies for drug-resistant and drug-sensitive forms of the disease.

A part of the IMI AMR Accelerator, UNITE4TB is supported by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and Associated Partners.

The consortium can access most of the advanced TB compounds that are now in late pre-clinical, clinical Phase I and early Phase II stages.

It will create a worldwide clinical trials network capable of performing Phase II studies.

In addition to adaptive study designs, the new trials will leverage the latest modelling, artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches.

All these measures are expected to allow choosing and evaluation of new combination regimens with an increased success potential in consequent Phase III trials.

Not-for-profit public-private partnership Critical Path Institute will be responsible for the data sharing workgroup related to the project. The entity will also support machine learning and artificial intelligence activities.

IMI executive director Dr Pierre Meulien said: “Tuberculosis is a major threat to public health worldwide.

“By bringing together leading experts from the public and private sectors in Europe and beyond, UNITE4TB is well placed to deliver results that will accelerate the development of better treatment regimens to tackle this disease.”

UNITE4TB secured funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU), which is supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme among others.