Com­pa­nies part­ner to turn old drugs into new reme­dies

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

A Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health ini­tia­tive will pair re­searchers with about two dozen phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try com­pounds from three drug com­pa­nies to help sci­en­tists in­ves­ti­gate new dis­ease treat­ments. The NIH’S Na­tional Cen­ter for Ad­vanc­ing Trans­la­tional Sci­ences—which was es­tab­lished last year—has part­nered with Pfizer, As­trazeneca and Eli Lilly and Co. for the new Dis­cov­er­ing New Ther­a­peu­tic Uses for Ex­ist­ing Mol­e­cules pi­lot pro­gram. In this ini­tia­tive, those com­pa­nies will make more than 20 molec­u­lar com­pounds and all re­lated data avail­able to bio­med­i­cal re­searchers, who in turn will ex­plore new treat­ments. About $20 mil­lion will be used in the first year for re­searchers to con­duct pre-clin­i­cal and clin­i­cal fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies. Dr. Fran­cis Collins, di­rec­tor of the NIH, said in a news con­fer­ence that the ge­nomic rev­o­lu­tion has al­lowed sci­en­tists to know the molec­u­lar ba­sis of about 4,500 dis­eases. But of those, only about 250 dis­eases have treat­ments. “Tens of mil­lions of dol­lars and years of work have al­ready been in­vested in each com­pound. They’ve al­ready cleared safety-test­ing in hu­mans, but did not prove ef­fec­tive for the spe­cific dis­ease or com­mis­sion for which they were de­vel­oped or they were not pur­sued for busi­ness rea­sons,” Collins said. “But thanks to the ini­tia­tive be­ing an­nounced to­day, re­searchers at U.S. uni­ver­si­ties, biotech com­pa­nies and non-prof­its can ap­ply for NIH fund­ing and ac­cess to these com­pounds in or­der to test their ef­fec­tive­ness in treat­ing other dis­eases or con­di­tions.”


Collins says the com­pounds to be used for new drugs have cleared safety tests.

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