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Research scientist Damien Duveau, Ph.D., works on a chemical formula in the NCATS chemistry laboratory. (Daniel Soñé Photography)

NCATS Creates Drug Development Data Portal

NCATS has created an online tool ― NCATS Inxight: Drugs ― that aggregates reliable, curated drug development data from multiple existing sources, all in one place.

Researchers determine the amount of exosomes in cancer cells.

Repurposed Drug Approach May Thwart Spread of Cancer Cells

NCATS pre-clinical staff helped NIH Extracellular RNA Communication program-supported scientists use a new approach to find drugs that may help prevent the spread of prostate cancer.

NIH Team Identifies Potential Therapies for Drug-Resistant Bacteria

NCATS helps discover a new way to identify drugs to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are a source of fatal infections, including in hospitals nationwide.

Work with Us

NCATS pre-clinical programs and resources focus on key obstacles and inefficiencies in the translational process, overcoming bottlenecks that slow the development of new treatments for patients.

Learn more about how to access NCATS programs and expertise.

Repurposing Drugs

Discovering new uses for approved drugs to provide the quickest possible transition from bench to bedside. Learn more.

Find NCATS Programs & InitiativesAccess NCATS Expertise & Resources

Early-Stage Repurposing

Large-scale screening of compound libraries to identify therapeutic leads.

Late-Stage Repurposing

Preparing therapeutic leads for clinical testing and evaluation.

Core Technologies

Using state-of-the-art resources to enable the ongoing operation of all NCATS translational research activities.

What is drug repurposing?

Repurposing generally refers to studying drugs that are already approved to treat one disease or condition to see if they are safe and effective for treating other diseases.

Drug Repurposing at NCATS

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.