UNITE4TB 2022 Annual Meeting in Munich

Project aims to accelerate the development of new TB drugs and regimens

Last week, 10-12 May 2022, members of the UNITE4TB Consortium gathered at the Munich Residence in Germany for the 2022 Annual Meeting. Hosted by the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine of the LMU University Hospital, this was the first full-Consortium face-to-face meeting since the launch of the project last year.

GA Munich, group picture (Photo: Michael Woelke/UNITE4TB)

The event featured a panel discussion on 10 May with high-ranking speakers. Dr. Florian Herrmann, Bavarian Minister of State and Head of the Bavarian State Chancellery welcomed the international guests. The first panel, chaired by Prof. Michael Hoelscher (Director of the Tropical Institute at the LMU University Hospital Munich) focused on public-private partnerships. Panelists, Eugene Sun (Sen. Vice President, TB Alliance), David Barros (Vice President, GSK, Global Health and International Organisations), Dirk Busch (Director, German Center for Infection Research – DZIF), Masoud Dara (Otsuka, Director Global Health and Alliances) and Giorgio Roscigno (Chair of Next2People, South Africa) discussed the added value of public-private partnerships for accelerating development and access to new, safe and affordable drug combinations for tuberculosis (TB) patients worldwide.

After pre-recorded impulse statements by internationally renowned experts like Anthony Fauci (Immunologist and advisor to the US president) and Michael Makanga (Executive Director, EDCTP), participants of the second panel discussed the topic “From clinical trials to access for patients”. Chaired by Prof. Mario Raviglione (University of Milan), the panelists of this second session were: Prof. Veronika von Messling (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF), Tereza Kasaeva (Director Global Tuberculosis Programme, World Health Organization (WHO), Blessina Kumar (The Global Coalition of TB Advocates), Peter Kim (DAIDS, NIH) and Grania Brigden (Global Fund).

In addition to presentations from all 12 Work Packages at the following Consortium Meeting (11-12 May), attendees also heard from vital groups within the project, such as the Community Advisory Group (CAG) – established to represent the views of the TB community at all stages of the project and the Young Investigators Group (YIG) – responsible for relaying content shared via the UNITE4TB communication channels to a broader audience.

At the start of the meeting, project coordinator Martin Boeree (Radboudumc) and scientific lead Michael Hoelscher (LMU) presented the status of the project and the challenges to be addressed in the year ahead. In summary, several crucial decisions have been made over the last year. For example, the sponsor for the first phase 2B clinical trial has been selected, and trial sites have been shortlisted in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. The clinical trial design has also been proposed, and finally, an Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) has been established, consisting of five experts covering four WHO regions with complementary expertise.

The hybrid event, hosted by LMU University Hospital with support from Lygature and Radboudumc, was a great success with partners leaving feeling engaged and motivated to take on year two of this seven-year, Innovative Medicines Initiative (now Innovative Health Initiative)-funded project.

For an overview of all sessions and a broader impression, view the meeting agenda and take a look at our live coverage of the event via the UNITE4TB LinkedIn and Twitter platforms, launched in mid-March.

"UNITE4TB gives the people affected by TB hope!" (Blessina Kumar, CEO of the Global Coalition of TB Advocates and CAG member)


TB symposium
The Annual Meeting was preceded by a TB symposium on 9 and 10 May at the Munich Residence. The main organizer of the event was the LMU University Hospital (Prof. Michael Hoelscher) in collaboration with DZIF. The goal of this workshop was to advance current research on TB Phase II clinical trials. It brought together leading international TB scientists who presented their current expertise and discussed competing strategies. The session was also connected to the DZIF Thematic Translational Units (TTU) of TB research, which hopes to benefit from a strengthened global TB researcher network and the results that will be developed and carried into the extended research community.

The success of this side event has provided the motivation for each Annual Meeting to be preceded by both a scientific meeting and a stakeholder event. In the case of the latter, we hope to invite and engage with key stakeholders fundamental to ensuring rapid registration by stringent regulatory agencies, including representatives from high-burden countries. With this, the Consortium hopes to contribute to a swift process of policy recommendations by the WHO, effective resource mobilization through key international funders such as the Global Fund, UNITAID and USAID, and eventually, fast adoption, uptake, and access provision in the countries of need.


About UNITE4TB

UNITE4TB is the largest public-private collaboration on clinical TB drug development in the history of the EU. It will set a new standard for anti-TB regimen development, enhancing the efficiency with which new treatments are delivered to TB patients across the world.

This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 101007873. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA, Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung e. V. (DZIF), and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU). EFPIA/AP contribute to 50% of funding, whereas the contribution of DZIF and the LMU University Hospital Munich has been granted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Further information: www.unite4TB.org