On June 18, NIH awarded $12.7 million to match 9 research groups with a selection of pharmaceutical industry compounds to explore new treatments for patients. The pilot initiative, called Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules, is administered by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The NIH Common Fund is providing funding.
NCATS launched the New Therapeutic Uses program in 2012 to help re-engineer the research pipeline. By crowdsourcing compounds that already have cleared several key steps in the development process, including safety testing in humans, scientists nationwide are contributing their expertise to accelerate the pace of therapeutic development. Compounds were offered by AbbVie (formerly Abbott), AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly and Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Research & Development, L.L.C., Pfizer and Sanofi for the pilot program.
The pilot phase tested newly created template agreements that proved to be extremely useful in facilitating negotiations, enabling the research to begin more quickly.
The award recipients each will test a selected compound for its effectiveness against a previously unexplored disease or condition. The 8 disease areas represented are alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, calcific aortic valve stenosis, nicotine dependence, peripheral artery disease, schizophrenia and two rare diseases, DMD and the lung disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis.
Additional scientific expertise is being provided by NCI, NHLBI, NIA, NIAAA, NIDA, NIMH and NINDS.
More information about the awards, including video and audio clips from program awardees, is available at http://ncats.nih.gov/therapeutics.html.