Issue 7:

April 2024

Approval given for first phase 1 trial to be carried out in ERA4TB’s validated clinical trial network

On February 23rd 2024, the Spanish regulatory agency and ethics committee approved a phase 1 trial for the asset known as ‘GSK656’. The trial, which is expected to begin in March will include approximately 20 people.  It is what is known as a drug-drug interaction trial, providing important safety information about GSK656.  This will be the first trial to take place in ERA4TB’s newly validated academic clinical trial unit network, which covers units in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany. This trial will be conducted at the clinical trials unit at the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid.

New ERA4TB project video highlights key achievements

In January 2024, ERA4TB published a new project video highlighting key achievements since the start of the project in 2020. Including interviews with key project staff, the video gives an overview of some of the most exciting updates from the project. Watch below:

TB-APEX platform opens to applications from external researchers

The TB-Platform for the Aggregation of Preclinical Experiments Data (TB-APEX) was launched in early 2024 by ERA4TB partner Critical Path Institute. The platform aims to catalyse and accelerate TB research by curating and standardising preclinical trial data. There are currently 61 pre-clinical data sets included within the platform from a range of data providers. The platform is open for external researchers to apply for access to this data at no cost.
The full article on the TB-APEX launch can be found on the ERA4TB website, and researchers can apply to access the platform here.

ERA4TB researcher awarded Idea Puzzle prize for research design

ERA4TB researcher, Lara Visuña Perez, from Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, has been awarded the annual Idea Puzzle prize for her doctoral research design titled ‘Deep Learning for the Automatic Bacilli Monitoring in Time-Lapse Microscopy (TLM) Images’ as part of her thesis.
The research design proposes a method for automated bacteria evaluation in time-lapse microscopy, utilizing artificial intelligence models and image processing. This has potential for speeding up the process of developing tuberculosis (TB) drugs and evaluation of TLM, proposing an automatic monitoring tool for mycobacterium tuberculosis culture growth.
The deep learning tool is being developed as part of ERA4TB’s work package 1 (Data & pipeline management), with valuable support from EPFL and the Institut Pasteur, whom provided microscopy videos and essential assistance for testing and developing the initial version of the AI tool.

Read more about Lara’s award in the news item here.

AMR accelerator cross-project meeting & AMR conference – March 2024, Basel

On 5th March 2024, the AMR Accelerator hosted the 5th annual meeting bringing together the nine IMI/IHI-funded projects that focus on antimicrobial resistance. The meeting included brief updates on the progress from each project, a series of Scientific Community Interest Groups, including one focused on engaging with regulatory and HTA bodies, with speakers from the World Health Organization, the IHI and NICE, and a Communications Advisory Board meeting.
Following the meeting the annual AMR conference, was also held in Basel on March 6-7th.

Spotlight on Work Package 8 (Management, outreach and sustainability)

We recently interviewed Estefania Callado, working at Synapse, Barcelona, Spain; and member of the ERA4TB Project Management Office. The full interview is available on the blog page, some highlights are below.

What does Work Package (WP) 8 do in ERA4TB?
Work Package (WP) 8 is our Management, Outreach & Sustainability WP. It is an instrumental WP for managing ERA4TB by providing coordination and professional project management capacity to resolve trade-offs between scope, time, cost and quality to ensure adequate progress and successful completion of the project. Additionally, WP8 aims at developing out reach and sustainability strategies for the long-term maintenance of the ERA4TB platform.

What are you hoping the project will have achieved by the end of its funding?
I trust that we will be able to find a few very good candidates against TB, with possibly a selection of a few more interesting molecules with different mechanisms of action that could progress into the anti-TB research. I also hope that this project will contribute with its grain of sand, or several bricks, to meet the goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030.

Can you tell us more about how ERA4TB is planning for its future?
Sustainability is considered a key aspect of this project, and it needs the contribution of key Consortium members. Indeed, WP8 members drafted a roadmap to effectively address the sustainability work during the second half of the project and included this in an initial sustainability plan. As a conclusion of this work, it was identified an initial list of exploitable assets. For the next steps, it is planned that, at the ERA4TB Consortium Meeting in May 2024, each of the project’s nine Work Package leaders will describe how they currently see their potential value streams moving forward and evolving in order to obtain an updated landscape of the current wishes and hopes.

View full Estefanía’s interview here.

Webinar (22 February 2024) – How ERA4TB is advancing TB research: imaging, information systems, and computer modelling

ERA4TB partner, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), hosted a webinar to showcase how ERA4TB is advancing TB research, with a particular focus on imaging, information systems, and computer modelling.

Presentations were given by the following project members:

  • Juan Jose Vaquero (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) on ‘Preclinical molecular imaging protocols for TB regimens development’
  • Silvia Grandoni (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche) on ‘Antitubercular drug development: from trial and error to model-based approaches’
  • Patrick O’Meara (Critical Path Institute (C-Path)) on how the drug development information management systems developed within ERA4TB is enabling streamlined access and integration of data

ERA4TB Portfolio status

Overview of ERA4TB Asset Progression Plans (APPs). At present, 15 different molecules are being progressed on the ERA4TB pipeline where in-vivo, in-vitro, preclinical development activities and First-in-Human studies are being undertaken in parallel, as shown below.

Upcoming activities and events

  • 8th ERA4TB Consortium Meeting, 13-14th May 2024 at Uppsala University
  • ERA4TB-UNITE4TB Joint Symposium, 15th May 2024 at Uppsala University.


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