Is drug repositioning a solution or THE solution? Patent cliffs are turning up the scrutiny on current drug development timelines and rising costs. Those who successfully innovate and develop therapies through the clinic are increasingly become attractive to larger pharma and investors alike surveying the pharmaceutical industry for opportunities to refill their pipelines and de-risk their investment. So once again, is drug repositioning one of many answers or is it increasingly becoming the answer to stagnant drug development?
Neurotec Pharma is one such company pioneering in the drug re-profiling space, which has developed a business model based on repurposing existing drugs towards their development and commercial use in central nervous system (CNS) diseases.
Dr. Marco Pugliese, Founder and CEO of Neurotec Pharma is set to present at the World Drug Repositioning Congress in London on how their repositioning compound is progressing into phase IIa for the treatment of MS. When discussing the drug repositioning field at large and its future role within general drug development, Dr. Pugliese quoted the Nobel-Prize winning pharmacologist Sir James Black "The most fruitful basis for discovery of a new drug is to start with an old drug." As you can read in our interview below, Dr. Pugliese certainly views this sentiment as "surely and tremendously true."
"Pharmaceutical research is associated with high costs, both in terms of time and money. So it is a fact that drug repositioning has been growing in importance in the last few years entering fully into the drug development strategies of large, medium and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. This is true for several reasons that ultimately can be summarized as:
1) Lower technological risks: repositioned compounds have a wide description of its safety. We have to remember that more than 90% of drug fails during development for safety.
2) Reduction in research time: in many cases we don't need to perform specific stages of preclinical and clinical research.
3) And, finally, (very important), we can reduce need for investment. This mean a lower total cost of the project.
Drug re-profiling is one way to maximize the potential of a drug. Using this strategy, classical pharmaceutical companies have achieved a number of important successes such as Viagra or thalidomide. In addition, numerous biotechnological companies are basing their business model on drug re-profiling using a combination of different tools including in silico biology and in vivo/in vitro experimentation to confirm hypotheses concerning its usage for new indications.
Why is there a need for developers to discuss repurposing of drugs at the World Drug Repositioning Congress in London?
"The Congress may be a unique moment to understand major strategies of repositioning and to compare it with smaller realities. I have chosen to speak at this meeting to share our experience in [the] repositioning world seen from the reality of a spin-off company born in a university environment that is currently conducting a phase IIa in MSâ€¦The conference agenda is truly comprehensive and stimulating. The program is well balanced and covers key aspects related to the repositioning. The talks related to the analysis of the risks and benefits of a new indication from Dr. Bahl, or from Dr. Ballesteros that will analyse the different aspects related with the intellectual property, I believe that promise interesting discussions and exchange of ideasâ€¦I think it’s important to share experiences with key industry players and the greatest benefit of attending the conference is to have the possibility for 3 days to exchange ideas and experiences with the world’s leading experts in this field, which is very difficult to achieve."
If you want to hear more from our confirmed speakers, read why the Founder of Chronos Therapeutics believes drug repositioning can act as a short term filler and long term solution to innovation shortages.
Or 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.