Newswise — Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently awarded $149,388 to Collaborations Pharma, Inc. (CPI) to initiate a partnership with Rutgers aimed at developing a series of compounds for treating tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease generally affecting the lungs in humans and caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb).
One-third of the global population is understood to be infected with TB and the disease continues to kill 1.5 million people every year and to infect approximately 9 million. Despite the availability of effective treatments for the disease, the combined impacts of drug resistance and morbidity of patients co-infected with HIV/AIDS have stimulated research on new quicker acting (less than the current six-month minimum) treatments efficacious against drug-resistant infections that are less toxic when used with anti-retroviral regimens for HIV/AIDS.
“We initially used Bayesian machine learning models to rediscover a class of compounds which seems to have been neglected for over 40 years ago. The compound we found has activity against drug-sensitive TB as well drug-resistant forms” said Sean Ekins, CEO CPI.
“To date my lab has made many analogs of the initial active compound we co-discovered with Dr. Ekins. Our plan is to focus on addressing limitations using computational models developed by CPI to see if we can arrive at a compound with good activity in an acute mouse model of the disease” said Dr. Joel S. Freundlich, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience and Medicine at Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School.
Dr. Freundlich has a chemical biology lab of eleven scientists that utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to study infectious diseases, with a specific focus on tuberculosis. His lab will aim to identify potential drug candidates as well as the mechanism of action of this antitubercular class. Ultimately their goal is to optimize this compound class to develop a commercially viable new series of antibacterials.
“This work is a wonderful example of our efforts to involve outside companies in our search for novel antibacterials” said Dr. David Perlin, Executive Director, Professor at the Public Health Research Institute Center at Rutgers and Principal Investigator, NIH/NIAID Center of Excellence in Translational Research.
“We are very grateful to NIAID for funding this project as CPI is focused on collaborations with academia so that we can apply our computational approaches to real world applications that can impact research on neglected diseases” said Dr. Ekins.
About Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Founded in 1954, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the oldest school of medicine in the state. Today it is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and graduates approximately 170 physicians a year. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 22 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, Newark University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” New Jersey Medical School hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, including the Public Health Research Institute Center, the Global Tuberculosis Institute and the Neurological Institute of New Jersey. For more information please visit: njms.rutgers.edu
About Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. performs research and development on innovative therapeutics for multiple rare and infectious diseases. We partner with academics or companies to identify and translate early preclinical to clinical stage assets. We have considerable experience of preclinical and computational approaches to drug discovery and toxicity prediction. For more information, please visit http://www.collaborationspharma.com/
For further information, please contact
Sean Ekins, Ph.D., D.Sc.
CEO and Founder
Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
5616 Hilltop Needmore Road,
Fuquay Varina, NC 27526