Five more drug companies have joined a new National Institutes of Health-led effort to help scientists fast-track research into promising new treatments for a range of diseases and conditions.
The NIH-industry initiative -- Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules -- provides funding and molecular compound information to speed development of promising therapies. This program aims to match researchers with 58 compounds to test ideas for new treatments.
Since the program’s launch last month, the number of compounds the companies are making available has more than doubled. Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C., and Sanofi said this week they would join the collaborative effort, which also includes Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly and Company.
The NIH's new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences created the program to help re-engineer the research pipeline. By “crowdsourcing” compounds that already have already cleared several key steps in the federal approval process for new treatments -- including demonstrated safety testing in humans -- scientists can contribute to advances in developing new disease therapies.
"Each company participating in this innovative collaboration has made substantial research and development investments to advance these compounds to the point where they can be used in clinical studies," said Kathy L. Hudson, the program’s acting deputy director. "If researchers funded through this effort can demonstrate new uses for the compounds, they could significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to get a treatment to patients in need."
In fiscal year 2013, NCATS will provide up to $20 million to fund two- to three-year staged, cooperative agreement research grants.