Update on NGDI – CDRD Partnership: One year later

Fight Against Neglected Global Diseases Moves Another Step Forward Through a Partnership Between CDRD and NGDI-UBC 

VANCOUVER, BC—February 20, 2012: One year after The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at the University of British Columbia (NGDI-UBC) came together to develop interventions for neglected global diseases, a project to combine existing approved drugs to better treat Tuberculosis (TB) has emerged as the collaboration’s leading prospect.

TB is the second leading cause of death by infectious disease in adults worldwide and it is estimated that one third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Research by UBC’s Drs. Santiago Ramón‐García and Charles Thompson has found a synergistic combination of two known drugs (used for other therapeutic applications but never before to treat TB) capable of inhibiting Mtb growth, while neither of these drugs have any effect on their own against Mtb.

“Although this partnership is still relatively young,” said Dr. Kishor M. Wasan, Director and Co-Founder, NGDI-UBC and Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC, “it is already proving to be very valuable in this global fight.”

The partnership brings together CDRD’s drug development platform and commercialization know-how with NGDI-UBC’s extensive network of expertise that extends across broad disciplinary boundaries. This partnership thereby augments each organization’s ongoing drug development efforts in partnership with world leading scientists, all with a mind to ensuring reasonable, fair and affordable access for developing countries.

In collaboration with CDRD’s screening division, Drs. Ramón‐García and Thompson introduced the concept of “2+2=16” in TB drug development. They identified 14 combinations of known drugs that acted in synergy when inhibiting Mtb growth in vitro and within macrophages. These were then further analyzed to identify combinations with suitable pharmacokinetic properties. One of them has now been chosen as the lead combination to be taken forward into in vivo proof of concept studies.

“Collaborating with CDRD has provided us with access to a new array of drug development infrastructure and expertise,” said Dr. Ramón‐García. “It has also brought new funding to our research through the CDRD-Pfizer Innovation Fund. Through CDRD, we now have one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies behind us as a key partner.”

“This project is really just the beginning for the CDRD-NGDI partnership,” said Karimah Es Sabar, Senior Vice President, Business and Strategic Affairs, CDRD. “We have several additional highly-promising projects in the pipeline focused on developing therapies for some of the world’s most devastating illnesses, and we know that more exciting news will soon follow.”

About the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at UBC

The Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at UBC (NGDI-UBC) brings together the technical expertise and perspectives of a variety of disciplines at UBC – including bench science, pharmaceutical and health research, business, social policy, and law – to develop interventions for neglected global diseases and ensure their delivery to those in need. For more information, visit www.ngdi.ubc.ca.

About CDRD

The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR), is a not-for-profit public-private organization that provides drug development expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading academic and health research institutions to advance promising, early-stage drug candidates. CDRD’s network of 20+ affiliated research institutions across Canada represent billions invested in health-related research every year, and CDRD plays a pivotal role in translating that research into commercial products and economic returns including new jobs for British Columbia and Canada. For additional information, visit www.cdrd.ca.


 For additional information, please contact:


Barry Gee
Director, Communications
The Centre for Drug Research and Development
(604) 221-7750 x223


Dr. Kishor Wasan
Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Director and Co-Founder, NGDI-UBC
(604) 822-4889