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The discovery of Bedaquiline – innovation in Tuberculosis drug discovery

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Despite all the progress in medical sciences, tuberculosis still kills more than 1.5 million people each year. Around 1 million children fall ill with tuberculosis each year, of which a quarter of a million cases are fatal. Anil Koul is recognised for his contribution to the discovery and development of Bedaquiline – a novel drug for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the first drug to break the 45-year deadlock in the search for a new tuberculosis medicine. To date, Bedaquiline has been approved in more than 60 countries across the world.

Anil’s research has enhanced our understanding of the science behind the mycobacterial energy metabolism. His research on intrinsic drug resistance, efflux mechanism and novel antibiotics classes has been instrumental in addressing the issue of increasing antimicrobial resistance. The discovery of Bedaquiline has been heralded by bacterial bioenergetics as the Achilles heel for tuberculosis drug development, which Anil will expand on further during his lecture.

Anil will end the talk by elaborating on work planned at LSHTM going forward, including but not limited to using the tuberculosis metabolomics platform as a novel approach to identify new targets and understanding drug-target interactions.



Image of Professor Anil Koul

Anil Koul has been appointed as adjunct Professor of Translational Discovery and will set up a laboratory focused on tuberculosis drug discovery and antimicrobial resistance. 

Anil has more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and public health research innovation. More recently, he served as the Director of CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), one of India’s premier biomedical laboratory and in part, for the Government of India. 

Anil is currently the head of Global Public Health Discovery at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and his team's research is focused on tuberculosis, respiratory viruses, novel antibacterial strategies as well as Dengue.

Anil and his team's research played a key role in discovery of Bedaquiline – a novel drug for treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Bedaquiline is the first drug to break the 45-year deadlock in the search for a new tuberculosis medicine. It has been conditionally approved in the US, Europe, and other high burden countries such as India, China, and South Africa. The World Health Organization has put Bedaquiline on its list of ‘Essential Medicines’.  

Anil received his Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Germany and IGIB, Delhi University in 2001.  Anil has several publications in leading journal and holds more than 20 patents to his credit. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), for the Government of India. In 2020, he was awarded by the American Chemical Society for discovery of Bedaquiline.   


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