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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

The NJLSVA was founded to educate suppliers on trends in industry procurement and public policy that affects the life sciences industry.

New Brunswick, NJ, April 28, 2014 — Mary Jo Layton reports in The Record that a Rutgers University infectious disease expert will lead a $26 million five-year research project aimed at developing new antibiotics to tackle deadly bacteria that have become resistant to treatments, officials announced Friday.

David Perlin, executive director of the Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, will oversee the project, which will include scientists from Rutgers and other institutions to jump-start research that’s lagging behind other drug development.

More than 2 million people are sickened every year in the United States with antibiotic-resistant infections, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths annually, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have people dying in hospitals of drug-resistant infections,” Perlin said. “There’s no question if you speak with clinicians of transplant patients, diabetics and others, we need new drugs.”

By joining researchers from academia and a pharmaceutical company already developing treatments, “we can overcome many of the barriers that limit antibiotic development and begin to reinvigorate the drug pipeline,” Perlin said.

First available in the 1940s, antibiotics were heralded as wonder drugs.  However, in just a few generations, they have become ineffective in combating some infections as bacteria have adapted and become resistant.  One such illness, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia.

Developing antibiotics can cost $1 billion and many pharmaceutical companies have targeted research to drugs likely to yield greater profits, such as heart medication or medicine to lower cholesterol, which millions of people need to take daily, Perlin said.

With few new drugs being developed, many serious infections have become untreatable.

“For a lot of companies, the investment was not justified given the return,” Perlin said.

Perlin will participate in the Centers of Excellence for Translational Research, a public-private partnership that includes Cubist, a pharmaceutical company in Massachusetts developing antibiotics and other drugs.

“We have an ideal situation,’’ Perlin said.  “They can take a component, refine it, test it, consider it for trial.  This is their core business,” he said.

To access Rutgers’ April 25 press release, click here.