NCATS Announces Funding Opportunities to Repurpose Existing Drugs Through Public-Private Partnerships

In collaboration with AstraZeneca and Janssen Research & Development, LLC, NCATS is seeking applications through its NIH-Industry Partnerships initiativeDoctor examining small child being held by her mother. to explore new treatments for patients, using existing experimental drugs or biologics. NCATS plans to commit an estimated $6 million to fund six to 10 awards to support partnerships between the pharmaceutical companies and the biomedical research community by making a selection of industry assets available to test ideas for new therapeutic uses. NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research also is participating in these new opportunities.

Through the NIH-Industry Partnerships initiative, which is part of NCATS’ Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules (New Therapeutic Uses) program, the Center supports and advances research on a wide range of common and neglected diseases, from lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) to diabetes.

Interested researchers are asked to submit a letter of intent by March 17, 2017, and pre-applications are due April 17, 2017.

“At Janssen, we believe in the power of public-private collaboration and are very pleased to participate in the New Therapeutics Uses program to maximize the potential of pharmaceutical compounds and ultimately to help improve public health,” said Husseini K. Manji, M.D., global therapeutic head for neuroscience at Janssen Research & Development, LLC.

NCATS designed New Therapeutic Uses to foster approaches that improve the translational research process and accelerate the pace at which discoveries are turned into new preventions, treatments and cures for human diseases. A novel drug can take about 14 years and more than $1 billion to develop, with a failure rate exceeding 95 percent. This failure rate means there are many partially developed therapeutic assets that have already been clinically tested. These assets have 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.

During the pilot phase of New Therapeutic Uses, NCATS tested the utility of its newly created template agreements, which proved to be effective in facilitating negotiations, enabling the research to begin more quickly. The template agreements reduced the time required to establish collaborations between industry and academia to as few as three months from the more typical nine months to one year.

“AstraZeneca is pleased to continue its participation in the pioneering NCATS’ New Therapeutic Uses program,” said Craig D. Wegner, Ph.D., head of the Boston Emerging Innovations Unit at AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines & Early Development Biotech Unit. “Connecting academic researchers with industry compounds and scientists has the potential to advance medical research in the pursuit of novel therapies that might otherwise go unexplored.”

Learn more about New Therapeutic Uses funding opportunities.

Posted February 2017