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May 2012

NIH launches program with industry groups and researchers to spur drug development

May 4, 2012 -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a new program that will pair researchers with certain pharmaceutical industry compounds to help scientists explore new treatment options for patients. The NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has partnered with the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly & Company, which have agreed to make dozens of their compounds available for the program’s pilot phase.

The program, called Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules, will provide researchers with access to compounds that have cleared several key steps in the development process, including safety testing in humans. The companies will provide the researchers with access to the compounds and related data.

President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposed $575 million for NCATS, of which approximately $20 million will be provided to support research grants of up to three years for pre-clinical and clinical studies.These studies will test more than 20 compounds from industry partners for their effectiveness against a variety of diseases and conditions.

At an event to launch the new program, NIH cited the HIV treatment AZT, created from failed attempts to treat cancer, in explaining the partnership. “We need to generate more of these success stories in a more systematic manner,” said NIH Director Francis Collins. Also at the launch event, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “To accelerate our nation’s therapeutic development process, it is essential that we forge strong, innovative, and strategic partnerships across government, academia, and industry.”

  • To read a NIH press release, click here.

  • To read an AP/Washington Post article, click here
  • To read a Reuters article, click here
  • To read a Bloomberg/Business Week article, click here

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