NEW YORK: The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, a not-for-profit pharmaceutical company, has named the Chandler Chicco Agency its AOR as it seeks to develop the first new tuberculosis (TB) treatment regimen in 40 years.
The alliance hired CCA as its drug regimen moves from phase I to phase II of clinical trials. CCA will help enroll patients into trial sites in nine countries in Africa, Europe, and North America.
Gwynne Oosterbaan, assistant director for the alliance, noted that the broader goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the organization - and ultimately increase funding.
"The first issue is getting us out there and getting us known," she said. "It always starts with [the] need to communicate your goals in order to reach the people who can make them happen."
The burden is particularly weighty in the US, where many people tend to underestimate the severity of tuberculosis.
"Most people don't think TB is a disease," Oosterbaan said. "You're starting with a high hurdle."
But doctors here have even seen strains of TB that are resistant to standard therapies.
"The world really can't wait any longer for a cure for TB," said Sydney Rubin, who heads CCA's Washington office, which will oversee the business.
CCA will target the local media in each market, reaching out to patients and health ministries.
Messages must be simple enough to reach people of all education levels without falsely raising hopes, Rubin noted.
"The communications has to be simple and sensitive," she said. "It's balancing the need for simplicity with the need for sensitivity."
Thousands of patients are needed to test the new regimen, which is designed to reduce the length of time that patients need to be treated, Oosterbaan said.
She added that the challenge is not only recruiting patients, but also making sure that the trials are conducted ethically and in line with "good clinical practice."
CCA also will provide strategic support to the alliance's partners, which include major drug companies, the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development.
CCA won the account in a bid against 11 other agencies. Terms were not disclosed.
Rubin noted that the alliance's clinical trials would be the largest since the 1950s.
TB infects one-third of the world's population and is a leading cause of death among AIDS patients.