Drug Repositioning: An Effective Approach in Drug Development


High cost and low pace of traditional drug discovery and development process have shifted the interest of major pharma companies towards finding new use of already existing drugs. Drug-repositioning is creating a buzz specially in rare and neglected diseases as it decreases the overall cost of bring a drug to the market. Repurposing is based on observations, existing disease information, pathways, targets, ligands, drugs pleiotropic effect. Utilization of already existing drugs for new diseases is cost effective and time saving since pharmacology, safety, toxicity, and formulation profiles of these drugs are already established.

Benefits of Drug-Repositioning

The drug-repositioning is an important lever for pharma companies to improve R&D productivity and enables R&D teams to:

  • Fast-track development and reduces risk – Repositioning can reduce drug development process from the typical 10-17 years for a de novo drug to 3-12 years (Exhibit 1). Further, this lowers risk because the molecule‚Äôs pharmacokinetic and safety profile are already known.
  • Increase revenue and return-on-investment – Repositioning can characterize more profitable indications and recover abandoned projects.
  • Expand IP Protection– New uses for an existing molecule can result in extended patent protection, depending on the level of novelty and whether any reformulation is involved. Further, proactively recognizing indication expansion opportunities


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