Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Announces $1.5 Million Award to Develop Machine Learning Software for Drug Discovery

Centennial Campus-based Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPI) has been awarded a $1,499,769 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to develop new machine learning software that could make public bioactivity data more accessible to scientists so they can generate computational models to facilitate drug discovery and accelerate their research.

The growing importance of artificial intelligence is visible by the growth in companies and increasing deals over the past year between pharma and smaller companies using machine learning to assist in drug discovery. Additionally, the continuing steady growth of publicly available structure-activity data poses a considerable challenge as they are generally not readily accessible for machine learning software.

“Collaborations Pharmaceuticals has developed a prototype of Assay Central software to enable data curation and machine learning model building and sharing. We have used this tool with a wide variety of structure activity data from sources both public and private for rare or neglected disease targets with many collaborators and for internal projects. We are excited by this award as it will allow us to perform a thorough evaluation and selection of additional machine learning algorithms (such as Deep Learning and Support Vector Machines) and different molecular descriptors. It will also fund development of our software to enable molecule selection, automated design or optimization,”said Dr. Sean Ekins, CPI CEO and Founder.

“We are so grateful to be able to partner with Collaborations Pharmaceuticals. This work is tremendously meaningful to us in our search for rare disease treatments,” said Audrey Davidow Lapidus, president, Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation.

“The utility of having such a tool as Assay Central readily available will empower scientists to leverage their data to help with drug discovery tasks. It can also be utilized in consumer product areas for toxicology assessment as well as for human and animal health applications. We are very grateful to NIGMS for supporting this work which will enable us to increase the number of collaborations we can support for neglected and rare diseases. It will also allow us to create new positions in our company,” said Dr. Ekins.

CPI has been an NC State University Partner since locating on Centennial Campus in early 2017.  The company actively collaborates with NC State researchers and students in areas including chemistry, toxicology and food safety.

About the Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation

The mission of the Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation (PHRF) is to support research dedicated to finding a treatment, and an eventual cure for Pitt Hopkins Syndrome and other similar disorders. The PHRF is also dedicated to supporting the Pitt Hopkins community with resource recommendations, parental support and the latest medical information. For more information, visit

About Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. performs research and development on innovative therapeutics for multiple rare and neglected diseases. CPI partners with academics or companies to identify and translate early preclinical to clinical stage assets. CPI has experience of preclinical and computational approaches to drug discovery and toxicity prediction. For more information, visit

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