Why is #drugrepositioning important to bridge the innovation deficit?

Chronos Therapeutics, drug repositioningDrug repositioning takes several forms and repositioning FDA approved drugs is one manner in which to adopt drug repurposing practice into your drug development. Chronos Therapeutics, an innovative Oxfordshire based biotech focused on age-related diseases, has successfully incorporated the repositioning of an FDA approved drug RDC5 into their drug development strategy.

Chronos Therapeutics reposition off-patent, FDA approved drugs for novel and often "orphan" conditions through a combination of their proprietary platform Chronoscreenâ„¢ and genetic analysis. The co-founder, Dr. Alexandre Akoulitchev will be part of the elite speaker faculty at the World Drug Repositioning Congress taking place in London on the 11th-13th September.

I was fortunate to ask Dr. Akoulitchev why he sees drug repositioning as an important strategy to innovate and what the future holds for repositioning practice across the industry:


1. What role is drug repositioning/repurposing going to take in future drug development across the industry?

"In the short and medium term drug repositioning is going to become very important as a quick filler for pharma pipelines that are ailing and facing up-coming patent cliffs.

In the long term it will be important to both develop novel drugs so as not to exhaust the supply but also maintain screening of repositioned drugs to make sure they are being used to their full potential.

Another clear role for repositioned drugs in the future is to become the mainstay of smaller biotech firms as they will allow the company to afford to go further faster. For these reasons Chronos Therapeutics has not limited  its use of the phenotypic drug discovery ChronoscreenTM platform to the  focused libraries of  small molecules, but has also successfully analysed off-patent drugs approved for use in US, Europe or Japan."

2. Why is there a need for developers to discuss repurposing of drugs and why have you chosen to speak at the World Drug Repositioning Congress in London?

"We feel it is important to discuss the topic as repositioning is such an outstanding opportunity for all involved – from safety to the cost of re-launching a repositioned drug. I would recommend to anyone interested in  a detailed comparison of advantages for a repositioned drug vs. new drug development the following link – (http://www.ddw-online.com/s/business/p142737/the-benefits-of-drug-repositioning-spring-11.html).

Between 2007 and 2009 almost 30-40% of all approvals/launches in the US were repositioned or reformulated drugs. Despite this fact drug repositioning remains outside of the comfort zone for many parties in the pharmaceutical industry. Questions of the best strategies for discovery, patent protection and clinical development for repositioned drugs are of interest for everyone in the industry.

Our own experience with identifying new candidates for repositioning has been very satisfying. From the initial phenotypic screens, within a very short period of time and at very limited cost, we have witnessed extremely impressive efficacies in pre-clinical disease models.  We really would like to share our  our excitement with the potential that drug repositioning offers to small and midsize companies, like Chronos Therapeutics.

3.      Based on the attached agenda, what are you looking forward to learning/gaining from speaking at the congress and who from the speaking faculty are you most looking forward to hearing and  why?

"Chronos Therapeutics will be particularly interested to hear from Margret Lee on reformulating combinations as the ChronoscreenTM has been proven particularly effective in screening for active/synergistic combinations of drugs.

The talks on failed compounds from Pillippe Sanseau and Aris Persidis will be of interest as this is a novel area for Chronos since we currently only screen off patent drugs.

Another area of interest for us will be hearing the discussions on the uses and the need for development of databases to aid with repositioned drug development y David Cavalla and William Loging.

We would be very interested to hear Edgardo Ferran on repositioning for rare diseases from perspectives of earlier experiences and successes at Sanofi.

The major benefit of attending would have to be having access to the breath of expertise on drug repositioning brought  that this conference is bringing together."


There is plenty more to come from our speaker line up. Read our latest blog post courtesy of David Cavalla, Founder of Numedicus, who will provide an insight into how the industry is taking a once serendipitous event and harnessing it in a more systematic and rational environment.


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