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Discoveries about the molecular basis of disease provide unprecedented opportunities to translate research findings into new medicines. However, developing a brand-new drug takes an enormous amount of time, money and effort, mainly due to bottlenecks in the therapeutic development process. Delays and barriers mean that translation of a promising molecule into an approved drug often takes more than 14 years. It is crucial to advance strategies to reduce this time frame, decrease costs and improve success rates.
Drug repurposing is one such strategy. Many agents approved for other uses already have been tested in humans, so detailed information is available on their pharmacology, formulation and potential toxicity. Because repurposing builds upon previous research and development efforts, new candidate therapies could be ready for clinical trials quickly, speeding their review by the Food and Drug Administration and, if approved, their integration into health care.