A Global Epidemic

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the oldest and most persistent epidemics, still affecting people in every country in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2019, 10.0 million people became newly infected with TB, including 1.2 million children.1

TB is spread through air. It most commonly affects the lungs, but can spread to almost any part of the body. About one quarter of the world population is latently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause the disease. Those infected have a 5 to 15% lifetime risk of developing active TB. People with weakened immune systems, such as people living with HIV or diabetes, or people who smoke tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill with TB.2

A Curable Disease

The global progress in eliminating TB has been very slow, with incidence declining at only 2.3% between 2018 and 2019, far slower than the global target.1 TB is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide.2 In 2019 alone an estimated 1.4 million people died from this infectious disease.1

Yet with proper management, TB is curable. However, even treatment of uncomplicated forms of TB requires taking a number of medicines every day for 6 months.2

The progress in eliminating TB and curing those affected by it has been eroded by the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. To learn more about drug-resistance, click here.

Searching for Innovative Solutions

Otsuka has been searching for new tools to fight TB for over 50 years, and has been one of the leading private sector funders of R&D in the world since 2005.3 It is committed to finding innovative solutions to effectively treat drug-resistant forms of TB, as well as to simplify and shorten treatment.


1. World Health Organization. Global Tuberculosis Report 2020. World Health Organization, Geneva, 2020.
2. World Health Organization. Tuberculosis Factsheet. Reviewed 14 October 2020. Available at: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis (Accessed 02 December 2020).
3. Based on Treatment Action Group, Reports on Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, issues from 2006 until 2019 (accessed 02 December 2020). All reports available at: https://www.treatmentactiongroup.org/resources/tbrd-report/

Information current as of 26-10-2022
Reference ONP-COP-2200002