NCATS Announces Funding Opportunity for New Bench-to-Clinic Repurposing Initiative

A novel drug can take about 14 years and more than $1 billion to develop, with a failure rate exceeding 95 percent. To help combat these challenges, NCATS has announced the Bench-to-Clinic Repurposing initiative and related funding opportunity. The goal is to support investigators to repurpose ― or identify new uses for — existing experimental drugs or biologics, as well as Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies already on the market.

Multi-color image of brain for brain imaging research

Multi-color image of whole brain for brain imaging research. This image was created using a computer image processing program (called SUMA), which is used to make sense of data generated by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). (Credit: National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health)

NCATS seeks applications to support preclinical (bench) studies to test the effectiveness of using an independent crowdsourcing effort, computational algorithm or big dataset from patient records to predict new uses of a drug or biologic. A key goal is to identify systematic approaches for predicting which existing drug or biologic might be effective in treating a disease or condition. Using existing therapeutics means positive findings could rapidly lead to testing in humans, and the translational approach can be adopted by the scientific community to improve other drug repurposing efforts.

Researchers interested in applying should submit a letter of intent by Oct. 14, 2016, and applications are due Nov. 14, 2016. In addition, NCATS plans to issue a complementary funding opportunity in fiscal year 2017 to support clinical studies for projects that are further along in the development pipeline.

The Bench-to-Clinic Repurposing initiative represents an expansion of NCATS’ Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules (New Therapeutic Uses) program, which supports research on new indications or uses for therapeutic assets that already have been clinically tested. These assets have already cleared several key steps along the development path, thereby providing scientists with a strong starting point for contributing their expertise and, ultimately, accelerating the pace of therapeutics development.

To learn more about the new funding opportunity, contact or view frequently asked questions.


Posted September 2016