Roche and Broad Institute are the latest groups to partner on "re-purposing" drugs. That is to say, Roche will give Broad insititute 300 or so drug candidates that have failed in clinical studies with their original "purpose". Presumably, these drugs have been found to effect a specific target and have shown safety in humans before -- so the hope is that if you can find a disease where these show a therapeutic effect then you are a lag up in getting the drug more quickly to market (with appropriate clinical trials, etc).
Some may view this as throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks -- others think it is a rationale shortcut to try that has small relative cost and perhaps a big upside if you can find a good target. This is becoming a more popular approach to try with libraries of compounds sitting around in various companies, and apparently has academic centers like Stanford, Broad, or NIH who are willing to screen. Given that's the case, then we shoudl have data sooner rather than later as to whether this is really worth the effort or not........See In the Pipeline and Fierce Biotech.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Nov 29th 2012