New Funding Award To Support Research To Fight Tuberculosis


Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School announce second NIH award to develop treatments for tuberculosis.

FUQUAY-VARINA, NC -- The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently awarded $225,000 to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPI) to initiate a second partnership – “Structure-guided optimization of an in vivo active small molecule antitubercular targeting KasA” - with Rutgers University aimed at developing a new series of compounds for tuberculosis (TB), which is an infectious disease generally affecting the lungs in humans and is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb).

Globally, there are 10.4 million new TB cases and 1.4 million deaths per annum. 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 treatments efficacious against drug-resistant infections that are less toxic when used with anti-retroviral regimens for HIV/AIDS.

“This new project resulted from a previously NIH funded U19 grant that identified the target for a compound published by GlaxoSmithKline,” said Dr. Joel S. Freundlich, Associate Professor of pharmacology, physiology & neuroscience and medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS). “We then pursued a structure-based design strategy to come up with new molecules in my laboratory that have significant translational potential.”

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. The project has received critical scientific contributions from faculty researchers with NJMS, including Dr. David Alland, Associate Dean, Department of Medicine, and Dr. Matthew Neiditch, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Genetics, who identified the target and co-crystallized various molecules bound to the protein, respectively. 

“Our goal is to optimize a novel candidate series to ensure that a generated lead compound is poised for drug combination testing in preclinical mouse models,” said Dr. Ekins, CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “My company is developing a pipeline of treatments for neglected and rare diseases through collaborations with academic laboratories. This has enabled us to develop compounds for Ebola, Chagas disease, HIV and TB.”

“This work is a clear example of the productivity of our U19 project team, which can in turn attract outside companies to collaborate with us to develop novel antibacterials,” said Dr. David Perlin, Executive Director, Professor at the NJMS Public Health Research Institute Center and principal investigator, NIH/NIAID Center of Excellence in Translational Research.

“We are very grateful to NIAID for this additional funding to develop new antibacterials” 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. In addition to providing the MD degree, the school offers MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MBA degrees through collaborations with other institutions of higher education. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 20 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” Home to the nation’s oldest student-run clinic, 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:

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