TB Alliance Partners With PepsiCo To Advance The Fight For Improved Tuberculosis Medicines

Leveraging shared expertise to help eliminate unpleasant taste of TB medicines to improve palatability and treatment for children with TB

LIVERPOOL, England, Oct. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- TB Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing better and faster cures for tuberculosis (TB), today announced a unique collaboration with food and beverage company PepsiCo designed to improve the treatment for children with TB.  Many of today's TB treatments are very bitter or unpleasant in taste, which when compounded with the long duration of treatment for TB, can lead to low tolerance and poor compliance - especially among children.

As part of the partnership, PepsiCo will apply proprietary flavor and sensory expertise to help map and develop strategies that counter the bitter taste of TB drugs. The technologies and expertise PepsiCo will be providing stem from the company's increased investment in research and development, including efforts to reduce added sugar, sodium and saturated fat levels in its food and beverage products while maintaining quality and great taste. PepsiCo will not be paid for its efforts, and TB Alliance will have free access to apply the results to its drug development and treatment efforts.

"At PepsiCo, we saw a unique opportunity to leverage our R&D talent and flavor expertise to help improve the palatability of certain TB medicines," said Dr. Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Global Research and Development, PepsiCo. "In collaboration with the TB Alliance team and others, we are hopeful that we can identify formulation changes that will make it easier for caregivers to administer TB medicines to children. Our work together has the potential to significantly improve the care and well-being of many TB patients and move us one step closer to the goal of eradicating TB in children."

Tuberculosis is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. Last year, 10.4 million fell ill from TB and 1.8 million died.  According to the World Health Organization, 1 million children become ill with TB each year and 210,000 children died.(1 )

Improved TB medicines are urgently needed. Most recently, TB Alliance and its partners introduced a child-friendly formulation with improved taste of the first-line TB drugs. However, reformulating all available anti-TB medicines is financially challenging. The latest work led by PepsiCo will focus on screening 17 available TB drugs, which would inform development strategies on what is needed to successfully taste mask medications. 

"No child should die of TB. The poor taste of drugs, particularly of MDR-TB treatments which often need to be taken for longer than a year, is a critical issue to tackle to improve treatment for children," said Dr. Mel Spigelman, President and CEO, TB Alliance. "We are pleased that PepsiCo is stepping up and applying its proven technology in the beverage industry to help solve this problem. This collaboration exemplifies atypical strategies that are needed to scale the investment in research and, ultimately, achieve a TB-free future. Other investment in this area has been very limited."

To learn more about the ongoing mission of the TB Alliance, please visit

For more information about PepsiCo's commitment to serving its communities around the world, please visit

About TB Alliance (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development) TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis (TB). Through innovative science and with partners around the globe, we aim to ensure equitable access to faster, better TB cures that will advance global health and prosperity. TB Alliance operates with support from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Irish Aid, Indonesia Health Fund, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNITAID, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

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