Improving Collaborations for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Michael Pollastri

Northeastern University

This project was funded on:
31 December 2013
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) infect over a billion of the poorest people in the world, yet only a tiny fraction of all drug discovery efforts is focused on this. There is little sharing of data across labs working in this area, leading to duplication of effort and precious time and money wasted. We are piloting a new data sharing model for NTD drug discovery that will help speed treatments for these diseases that disable and kill so many.


Budget Overview

Funds raised in this campaign will be directed to three primary goals. First, we need to defray the costs of the database system. We have been working with Collaborative Drug Discovery for the last four years and have found their system to be flexible, easy-to-use, and highly functional for the collaborative nature of drug discovery. Second, we intend to provide seed funding for key laboratory experiments in support of consortium members' projects. Often, key capabilities (such as synthetic chemistry) or bits of data that are important for making good drug discovery decision (such as solubility, or metabolic stability) can be slightly out of reach of some academic research groups. As a group, consortium members will collaborate and determine priorities for these research expenditures. Third, we intend to get the word out about this collaborative model by a variety of means, including publications, social media, and professional networking.

Meet the Researcher


Prof. Pollastri’s primary research focus is on discovery of new therapeutics for neglected tropical diseases, using a “parachute” or “repurposing” approach. In this approach, he identifies parasitic targets of importance that have been previously biochemically validated, with a further focus on those targets with human homologs that have been pursued in human drug discovery. Prof. Pollastri’s lab then prepares known ligands previously reported against the human homolog for assessment against the parasite target, and then pursue an optimization program from that starting point. Our lab is focused on parasite phosphodiesterases and kinases, in order to discover new lead compounds for treatment of African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and malaria.

Project Backers

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