NIH UH2 award to develop a new drug for Chagas Disease

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc., UC San Diego and University of Sao Paulo (USP), Sao Paulo, Brazil, Receive NIH UH2 Award “Repurposing pyronaridine as a treatment for Chagas disease” 

September 13th, 2017: Raleigh – The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently awarded $607,054 to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPI), University of California San Diego and University of Sao Paolo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, to repurpose pyronaridine as a treatment for Chagas Disease. 

Chagas disease is a neglected tropical disease caused by the kinetoplastid parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. Cruzi) and currently affecting 6-7 million people. The disease is endemic to Latin America but is increasingly found in North America and Europe, primarily through immigration. There may be more than 300,000 people in the U.S. with Chagas. About 30% of those infected develop cardiomyopathy and 10% will develop a digestive syndrome. Both pathological manifestations progress, ultimately leading to death. Organ transplantation is the only available remedy. There is currently only one FDA approved drug which has side effects.

“This academic-industrial collaboration between UC San Diego, Fundação Faculdade de Medicina, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. aims to repurpose a drug that’s already approved in Europe for malaria but not approved in the U.S. for any indication.” said Sean Ekins, CEO of CPI.  

“We identified this compound in an earlier collaboration that involved using public data and machine learning to predict compounds with activity for testing,” said Dr. Jair Siqueira-Neto, assistant professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego. “When we tested pyronaridine in vitro and in vivo in the acute infection model, it was very efficacious.”  

“Our goals of this study are to assess whether pyronaridine can be used as a single or combination therapy in chronic models of Chagas disease before ultimately designing a clinical trial,” said Professor Ester Sabino, USP, Brazil. 

“We are immensely honored that NCATS decided to fund this work as we try to develop this treatment that is derived from a computational approach to drug repurposing, a strategy we are utilizing for other neglected and rare diseases,” said Dr. Ekins. 

About UC San Diego - At the University of California San Diego, we constantly push boundaries and challenge expectations. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to take risks and redefine conventional wisdom. Today, as one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth and make our world a better place. Learn more at www.ucsd.edu.  

University of Sao Paulo (USP) - The University of Sao Paulo is the largest higher education and research institution in Brazil.  USP is composed of seven campuses that offers 230 undergraduate courses and 57,000 undergraduate students. Graduate studies at USP, with more than 500 fields of concentration areas (MAs and PhDs) and approximately 38,000 students, are an international point of reference for Science and Technology in Brazil.   

About Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.- Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. performs research and development on innovative therapeutics for multiple rare and infectious diseases. We partner with leading academics, companies and foundations to identify and translate early preclinical to clinical stage assets. We have considerable experience in preclinical and computational approaches to drug discovery and toxicity prediction. For more information, please visit www.collaborationspharma.com 

For further information, please contact: 

Sean Ekins, Ph.D., D.Sc., CEO and Founder, 

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 
840 Main Campus Drive, Lab 3510
Raleigh, NC 27606 

collaborationspharma@gmail.com 

cell:215-687-1320
office: 919-515-5941 

 

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center For Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UH2TR002084. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of   the National Institutes of Health.

 

NIH R01 Award to Develop Next Generation Non-nucleoside RT HIV Inhibitors

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Research Center of Biotechnology RAS, Institute of Biochemistry, Moscow, Russia and the University of Maryland Announce NIH R01 Award to Develop a New generation of non-nucleoside RT HIV inhibitors avoiding HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders

29th March 2017: Fuquay Varina – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently awarded a total of $596,379 to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Research Center of Biotechnology RAS, Institute of Biochemistry, Moscow, Russia and the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland to identify new non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) compounds.

HIV infection, the virus causing acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is one of the most important pathogens affecting mankind. Predominantly a disease of poverty, HIV affects young adults in their most productive years and hence also carries a large economic burden. Numbers published by the World Health Organization are bleak: in 2015, approximately 2.1 million new cases of HIV were reported and over 1.1 million people died from the disease. HIV can be managed, albeit with a cocktail of 3-4 antiretroviral drugs that need to be taken regularly.  Side effects are a concern for these drugs that need to be taken for decades. A large number of patients develop HIV associated neurological disorders (HAND) which results in minor problems with memory to severe dementia-like symptoms.

New anti-HIV compounds, selected specifically for their ability to overcome the growing list of HIV strains that are resistant to established drugs, are beginning to populate a small pipeline of potential future drugs but there is a need for more due to the potential to fail in the clinic or earlier.

“This academic-industrial collaboration between the Research Center of Biotechnology RAS, Institute of Human Virology, and Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. aims to identify new non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase anti-HIV compounds. We will also determine the suitability of the compounds for treating patients with HIV associated neurological disorders which may provide a clinical advantage.” said Sean Ekins, CEO CPI.

“From a screening library of several thousand compounds, we found 80 hits that display relatively potent anti-HIV activity. Combining traditional genetic and cutting-edge analytical tools, we have already identified the virus targets for some of these hits.” stated Dr. Vadim Makarov, Research Center of Biotechnology RAS, Institute of Biochemistry.

“We are excited to start this collaborative effort towards the development of new antiretrovirals that are active against drug resistant mutants, which constitute a problem in the treatment of HIV-positive patients; as an added value, we will evaluate compounds for activity in test systems that are relevant to neurological complications of AIDS” said Dr. Alfredo Garzino-Demo, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“We are very grateful to NIAID for funding this collaborative RO1 and look forward to demonstrating how we can cost-effectively collaborate to develop commercially viable drug candidates.  We have a world class team of researchers with deep expertize in HIV chemistry and biology involved, which is incredibly exciting and we hope to use our drug discovery and development expertise to help translate the research quickly,” said Dr. Ekins.

 

About Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. performs research and development on innovative therapeutics for multiple rare and infectious diseases. We partner with leading academics, companies and foundations to identify and translate early preclinical to clinical stage assets. We have considerable experience in preclinical and computational approaches to drug discovery and toxicity prediction. For more information, please visit http://www.collaborationspharma.com/

 

About Research Center of Biotechnology RAS, Institute of Biochemistry, Moscow, Russia

The Federal State Institution “Federal Research Centre “Fundamentals of Biotechnology” of the Russian Academy of Sciences” was established in 2014, by the reorganization of the A.N. Bach Institute of Biochemistry RAS via inclusion of S.N. Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology RAS and the Center of Bioengineering RAS. The strategic goal of the Research Center of Biotechnology RAS is to create scientific and technological basis for the bioeconomy development, the integrated use of renewable raw materials and waste,  the design of new bioactive compounds, the improvement of efficiency and sustainability of agricultural production, the insurance of food safety and quality. For more information, please visit http://www.fbras.ru/en/

 

About the Institute of Human Virology


Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland, and the University of Maryland Medical System, the IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV combines the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology, and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably, HIV the virus that causes AIDS. For more information, visit www.ihv.org and follow us on Twitter @IHVmaryland.

 

For further information, please contact:

Sean Ekins, Ph.D., D.Sc.

CEO and Founder,

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
840 Main Campus Drive, Lab 3510
Raleigh, NC 27606

collaborationspharma@gmail.com

cell:215-687-1320
office:
919-515-5941

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Announce NIH Award to Develop New Software for Drug Discovery

Fuquay Varina – The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) recently awarded $149,999 to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPI) to develop software that could make public data more amenable to those scientists who want to use it to build computational models to help their research.

There are massive publically accessible databases that include a broad variety of disease targets and absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicology (ADMET) properties that are not in a form that is immediately ready for machine learning model building or accessible for use by small research and development (R&D) organizations that do not have their own in-house cheminformatics teams. This project will compile a comprehensive collection of these datasets (e.g. databases like PubChem, ChEMBL etc) for structure-activity data. This will enable the user to quickly and automatically use machine learning models for various targets and properties that could be of value for drug discovery.

“Being able to use transparent computational models simultaneously for visualizing activity trends for multiple targets (both diseases and ADMET) removes the burden of curation or purchasing and maintaining expensive software, and drastically simplifies the addition of new data. It also represents a new frontier of drug discovery as a world of small, agile distributed R&D organizations has access to valuable public datasets that can inform their research. Such computational models will assist in drug repurposing efforts internally and with our collaborators while likely identifying new compounds for a wide array of drug discovery projects” said Sean Ekins, CEO CPI.

 “We are very grateful to NIGMS for funding so we can illustrate how computational approaches can be used to repurpose drugs already approved for other uses and instead use for neglected and rare diseases” said Dr. Ekins.

About Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. performs research and development on innovative therapeutics for multiple rare and infectious diseases. We partner with leading academics, companies and foundations to identify and translate early preclinical to clinical stage assets. We have considerable experience in 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.

320 N Judd Parkway NE, Suite 217,

Fuquay Varina, NC 27526

collaborationspharma@gmail.com

cell:215-687-1320
office: 919-762-0084

10th Nov 2016- Antimalarial being tested as possible Ebola virus drug

CPI and Texas Biomed announce NIH award to develop a treatment for Ebola

 

Fuquay Varina, N.C. (November 10, 2016) - The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) recently awarded $596,533.00 to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPI) to initiate a partnership with Texas Biomedical Research Institute aimed at repurposing an antimalarial for use against the Ebola virus.

Since 2014, the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has resulted in 28,657 suspected cases and 11,325 deaths (according to WHO statistics) and highlighted the need for broad-spectrum antiviral drugs for this and other emerging viruses. Data from a published large scale high throughput screen performed by SRI International and Texas Biomedical Research Institute was used to create machine learning models that identified 3 compounds active against the virus in vitro (in a lab, outside of a living organism). This earlier work had suggested that antimalarial compounds, as well as other classes of approved drugs could be of interest for repurposing.

"We used Bayesian machine learning models based on the earlier published dataset to screen a library of more than 2000 drugs and drug-like molecules, which then lead to the discovery that of the 3 compounds identified, a relatively new antimalarial called pyronaridine, approved in Europe had promising activity in vitro and could be worthy of testing in vivo (in a living organism) against the Ebola virus" said Sean Ekins, CEO CPI.

"My lab has screened thousands of compounds against Ebola virus," said Dr. Robert Davey, Interim Chair of Texas Biomed's Department of Virology and Immunology. "This particular compound, pyronaridine, is promising because it is already an approved drug in Europe, has been used in thousands of patients and may have favorable molecular properties that could speed up its transition to clinical testing. We do not currently know the target of the three compounds and there is still considerable research needed."

Dr. Davey is interested in understanding how viruses like Ebola virus penetrate the cell membrane and establish infection. In addition, Dr. Davey's laboratory has developed safe, efficient, high-throughput screening techniques for Ebola virus and performs contract work on testing drugs and compounds against Ebola virus infection in the biosafety level-4 maximum containment laboratory. This work has resulted in exciting findings towards potential drug candidates to combat Ebola virus.

"This collaboration involves Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Stanford Research International and Rutgers University, and we are very grateful to NCATS for funding so we can illustrate how computational approaches can be used to repurpose drugs already approved for other uses and instead use for neglected diseases" said Dr. Ekins.

###

About Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Texas Biomed is one of the world's leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, hemorrhagic fevers and parasitic diseases responsible for malaria and schistosomiasis. The Institute also has programs in the genetics of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, psychiatric disorders and other diseases. Texas Biomed is home to the Southwest National Primate Research Center, one of seven NIH-supported primate research centers in the United States. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to http://www.TxBiomed.org.

About Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. performs research and development on innovative therapeutics for multiple rare and infectious diseases. We partner with leading academics and companies to identify and translate early preclinical to clinical stage assets. We have considerable experience in preclinical and computational approaches to drug discovery and toxicity prediction. For more information, please visit http://www.collaborationspharma.com/

8th Nov 2016- One NC small business program: Award of matching grant

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has been selected for a Stage 1 Grant Award of $32,346.50 under the One North Carolina SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program Solicitation, Funding Opportunity Number NCBST-FY16-17M, closing on June 30, 2017 (the “Solicitation”). The Phase I Matching Funds Program is designed to award matching funds to North Carolina businesses who have been awarded a SBIR or STTR Phase I award.

 

This funding will be important as the company grows, hires staff and supports local businesses. We are very grateful for the support of the North Carolina Office of Science, Technology & Innovation.

16 -Aug 2016 - Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Rutgers announce NIH Award to develop treatments for tuberculosis

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
collaborationspharma@gmail.com

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals participates in OpenZika launch

Zika Treatment Search Launched, Fueled By IBM’s World Community Grid Crowdsourced research project aimed at helping scientists cure debilitating disease
ARMONK, NY – 19 May 2016: IBM’s (NYSE: IBMWorld Community Grid and scientists are launching an international study to identify drug candidates to cure Zika, a fast spreading virus that the World Health Organization has declared a global public health emergency.

IBM and a global team of scientists are inviting anyone with a computer or Android device to join the #OpenZika project. Volunteers don’t need to provide time, expertise or money to help; they simply run an app on their Windows, Mac, Linux or Android devices that automatically performs virtual experiments for scientists whenever the machines are otherwise idle.

Through the OpenZika project, World Community Grid will power virtual experiments on compounds that could form the basis of antiviral drugs to cure the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious neurological disorders. With dramatically more speed than possible in a traditional lab, the project will screen compounds from existing molecule databases against models of Zika protein and crystal structures. Screening results will quickly be shared with the research community and general public. Promising compounds would then be tested in the collaborators’ laboratories.

For the OpenZika project, World Community Grid is working with an international team of researchers led in Brazil by the Federal University of Goias, and with support from Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz); Rutgers University’s New Jersey Medical SchoolCollaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San Diego.

“Enlisting the help of World Community Grid volunteers will enable us to computationally evaluate over 20 million compounds in just the initial phase and potentially up to 90 million compounds in future phases,” said Carolina H. Andrade, Ph.D., professor at the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil and the lead researcher on the OpenZika project. “Running the OpenZika project on World Community Grid will allow us to greatly expand the scale of our project, and it will accelerate the rate at which we can obtain the results toward an antiviral drug for the Zika virus.”

The need for a treatment is acute as warmer weather approaches North America, creating an environment more conducive to Zika-carrying mosquitoes, and as international travelers contract and transmit the virus.

Other anti viral research efforts also hold promise. For example, IBM Research and Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology announced that they have identified a macromolecule that could help prevent deadly viral infections such as Zika. IBM has provided its expertise and resources for other disease outbreaks, such as Ebola. For instance, IBM’s World Community Grid launched a project on Ebola research.

In addition, IBM has helped governments track diseases outbreaks.The company provided a citizen engagement and analytics system in Sierra Leone that enables communities affected by Ebola to communicate their issues and concerns directly to the government. For that pubic health emergency, IBM Research also created opinion-based heat-maps which correlated public sentiment to reported outbreak locations. IBM scientists have created a free, open source tool that helps scientists and public health officials create, use and study spatial and temporal models of emerging infectious diseases such as Zika.

As part of its citizenship program focused on innovative solutions to societal problems, IBM created World Community Grid in 2004 to address researchers’ critical need for supercomputing power. Partially hosted on IBM’s SoftLayer cloud technology, World Community Grid provides massive amounts of supercomputing power to scientists, free of charge. It does this by harnessing the unused computing power of volunteers’ computers and Android devices. More than three million computers and mobile devices used by nearly three quarters of one million people and 470 institutions across 80 countries have contributed virtual supercomputing power for more than two-dozen vitally important projects on World Community Grid over the last 11 years, at a value of more than $500 million.

World Community Grid has helped researchers identify new potential treatments for childhood cancer, identifying new materials for more efficient solar cells, and helping to identify how nanotechnology can filter water more efficiently. Many of these efforts might not have even been attempted without the free supercomputing power provided by IBM’s World Community Grid.

To perform such computational experiments, OpenZika researchers are using a widely used virtual screening tool called AutoDock VINA, developed by the Olson laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute. At its core, World Community Grid is enabled by Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC), an open source platform developed at the University of California, Berkeley and with support from the National Science Foundation.

Volunteers can support the OpenZika search for a cure by joining World Community Grid. IBM also invites researchers to submit research project proposals to receive this free resource. For more information about IBM’s philanthropic efforts, please visit www.citizenIBM.com or follow @CitizenIBM on Twitter.

Contact(s) information

Ari Fishkind

IBM Media Relations

1 (914) 499-6420

fishkind@us.ibm.com

 

Angie Hu

IBM Media Relations

914-499-6532

ahu@us.ibm.com