New program pairs NIH with industry to find novel uses for old drugs

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) will soon be launching its first signature initiative, Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules, which will give researchers access and funding to study compounds from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly that hit a roadblock after initial safety testing in humans. According to the NIH Extramural News: “Much like azidothymidine (AZT), which proved unsuccessful as a cancer drug but revolutionized HIV treatment, we hope that these molecules will be put to new therapeutic uses.”

NCATS has budgeted $20 million for this initiative and expects to fund 8-10 cooperative agreements. For more information on the application process (a pre-application will be required), refer to the NIH notice of intent to publish a request for applications.

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