Ahead of the first-ever United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB), Johnson & Johnson announced a comprehensive 10-year initiative in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the TB pandemic by 2030. With the goal of saving an estimated 1.8 million lives and preventing 12 million new TB infections in the next decade, the company will work with partners to improve detection of undiagnosed cases of TB, broaden access to its novel medicine for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), and accelerate research & development (R&D) to discover next-generation TB treatments.
“TB is the world’s number one infectious killer, and TB and MDR-TB cause major devastation for people, communities and entire countries around the world,” said Paul Stoffels, MD, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson. “The good news is TB is both preventable and treatable, and Johnson & Johnson is committed to doing everything we can to create a world free from TB. This new initiative will unleash the power of science and technology to forever change the trajectory of TB.”
Every year, 10 million people fall ill with tuberculosis and approximately 1.6 million people die from the disease. TB is difficult to diagnose, and many of the drugs used today have had historically low cure rates and can lead to debilitating and even fatal side effects. Further, the disease is developing resistance to first-line medicines. Drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) now accounts for approximately one-third of deaths from antimicrobial resistance (AMR), making TB the single largest cause of AMR-related deaths. There is a growing consensus that new innovations are urgently needed in order to end the TB pandemic.
This new, comprehensive initiative builds on Johnson & Johnson’s significant investments over two decades in the discovery, development and delivery of bedaquiline, the company’s medicines for the treatment of pulmonary MDR-TB in adults (≥ 18 years of age). When bedaquiline was conditionally approved by the FDA in 2012, it was the first targeted TB medicine with a novel mechanism of action in more than 40 years. Today, it is approved in 56 countries, including those with the highest TB burdens. As part of the company’s commitment to ensuring access to bedaquiline for patients who need it, Johnson & Johnson has provided nearly 70,000 courses of treatment to patients in 107 countries.