Looking to further the fight against tuberculosis, Chiron Corp. and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development came to terms on a developmental-stage product.

Chiron licensed its PA-824 compound to the alliance, a public-private partnership created in 2000, to develop as a new drug to treat TB.

“The development of a new TB drug is a challenging process,” Chiron media relations manager John Gallagher said. “We believe that this unique public-private partnership provides the necessary support to move forward with clinical trials for PA-824, and offers the best possibilities for developing a drug.”

Originally developed by Seattle-based PathoGenesis Corp., which was acquired by Chiron for about $700 million in 2000, PA-824 is a novel compound related to nitroimidazoles, a family of compounds used to treat a range of infections. It has shown in vitro activity against both drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant strains of TB.

“In June 2000, PathoGenesis published an article in the Journal of Nature outlining the results of some of their research,” Gallagher said. “PA-824 appears to work by interfering with both protein and cell wall biosynthesis, in part by preventing multidrug-resistant TB from forming an important fatty acid component of its cell walls.”

Early research into PA-824 revealed the potential to permit significant reduction in the duration of TB treatment from its present course of six to nine months.

The New York-based TB alliance will incur costs for further development of PA-824, which remains in preclinical development, and its analogues licensed from Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron.

“They’re going to take the next steps with the drug in seeing it through clinical trials,” Gallagher said.

Further collaboration at later stages of development is also written into the terms, including a grant-back option to Chiron for manufacture and commercialization of products in developed markets. No royalties will be collected for drugs marketed in less-developed economies, including impoverished countries with a high burden of tuberculosis.

Chiron’s (NASDAQ:CHIR) fell 11 cents Friday to close at $42.26.