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Everyone knows that Findacure really believes in drug repurposing. Finding new uses for existing pharmaceuticals has the potential to speed up and reduce the cost of delivering treatments to the rare disease patients that need them most. Luckily we aren’t on our own in that belief: US-based charity Cures Within Reach have been focusing on drug repurposing for years, and a number of companies are opening with a focus on repurposing by both running trials and identifying new opportunities. Furthermore, as we visit conferences and events, we hear about an increasing number of patient groups, researchers and companies who are exploring repurposing.

A few months ago we realised that we need to formalise this knowledge. To prove the need for our Social Impact Bond model we need to demonstrate that there is an interest in repurposing, that there are repurposing ideas out there for rare diseases, and that these ideas are struggling to secure the funding they need to reach the clinic. That is why we launched our Rare Repurposing Open Call, in collaboration with US charity Cures Within Reach and the Cambridge start-up Healx, on Rare Disease Day.

The open call aims to collect a range of repurposing ideas from the rare disease community, and find ways to drive the best projects forward. This might be by helping to develop patient groups, conducting supporting analyses, or finding funding for trials. The call is focussed on projects that have an existing body of scientific evidence, but have not yet been rigorously tested in humans; however, we hope to receive a mix of projects to demonstrate the need and interest in this type of research.

Over the next three months we’ll be focussed on ensuring that the open call reaches as many people with drug repurposing ideas as possible. We’d love you to follow the project, share it, and get involved:

  • We’ll be singing and shouting about the open call on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – please like and share our posts!
  • We’ll be releasing a video every Wednesday to explore examples of drug repurposing and share more information about the open call. You can view these on our website and share them from our social media platforms.
  • Join us at one of our two webinars: “Progressing your repurposing project” on 29th of March, and “Identifying repurposing opportunities” on 5th of April! The first is targeted at researchers and clinicians, and will feature a talk from Cures Within Reach’s Dr Bruce Bloom, who will introduce CureAcceleratorTM, and explain how it can be used to source funding and support for repurposing research. The second will feature the team from Healx, who will explain some of the new approaches that can be used to identify repurposing opportunities, or ensure your trial targets the correct part of the patient population. Both webinars will include an introduction to the Rare Repurposing Open Call from Findacure’s Head of Research, Dr Rick Thompson.
  • We will be giving talks at universities and hospitals around the UK to promote the role of repurposing in for rare diseases.

 

We will be speaking to our clinical, research and patient group contacts, asking them to submit ideas and spread the word. We would love you to do the same with your own network. You have the power at your fingertips to help us drive this forward and deliver affordable treatments to rare disease patients.

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