TB R&D Update: Podcast Interview with Dr. Iwao Ojima

Dr. Iwao Ojima

Listen to Iwao Ojima Podcast

Dr. Iwao Ojima is a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at Stony Brook University. His group recently published a paper in PLOS One entitled A Trisubstituted Benzimidazole Cell Division Inhibitor with Efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

In this interview, Dr. Ojima discusses how he transitioned from working on Taxol, the anticancer compound to TB growth inhibitors, specifically benzimidazole compounds. Tri-substituted benzimidazoles have excellent activity against M.tb, reducing bacterial loads in mouse models by over 6 logs. They are especially interesting because of their mechanism of action; benzimidazoles target the FtsZ ring and disrupt cell division. Due to importance of cell division as a cellular process, resistance against benzimidazole compounds has yet to be observed. Furthermore, the compounds are equally potent against MDR and XDR-TB. Dr. Ojima is currently collaborating with Sanofi on preclinical development of the benzimidazole compounds.

In addition to discussing the promising benizimidazole compounds, Dr. Ojima expressed his thoughts on the current landscape of TB research. According to Dr. Ojima, developing a TB vaccine is of utmost importance. Prevention is preferable to treatment; if researchers develop an effective vaccine, the incidence and burden of the disease would substantially decrease. Dr. Ojima also stated that the expected profitability of TB drugs is a challenge for drug development. Since many TB patients are in middle to low income countries, TB drugs are not expected to be highly profitable. He stressed the importance of organizations like the Gates Foundation and TB Alliance for addressing the need for cheap anti-tubercular drugs.

Related Links

A Trisubstituted Benzimidazole Cell Division Inhibitor with Efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Dr. Iwao Ojima profile

Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery

Additional TB R&D News

TB Lung Infection Causes Changes in the Diversity of Gut Bacteria in Mice

Diagnosis of Childhood Tuberculosis and Host RNA Expression in Africa

Diagnostic Accuracy of a Point-of-Care Urine Test for Tuberculosis Screening Among Newly-Diagnosed HIV-Infected Adults

More News
11 Aug 2020
The European Commission (EC) has provided conditional marketing authorization for pretomanid, a novel compound developed by TB Alliance, when used in combination with bedaquiline and linezolid as part of a six month, all-oral regimen for the treatment of adults with XDR-TB or treatment-intolerant...
29 Jul 2020
The WGND is announcing a call for applications to become a part of the WGND Core Group (CG). The CG provides leadership and sets the strategic direction for the work of the WGND. Addmitted applicants will begin their term in September 2020. Current CG membership information is available on the WGND...
9 Jul 2020
Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson announced a reduction in the price for bedaquiline in low- and middle-income countries, as part of a collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership's Global Drug Facility (GDF). The immediate change in price will make bedaquiline available through the GDF at the...