May 3, 2017 (Press Release) -
"Repurposed generics offer a unique opportunity for inexpensive, safe, and highly effective cancer treatments that could be developed in half the time of new drugs, but they are being overlooked by drug developers due to a lack of financial incentives typically provided by patent protection or other financial exclusivity,"
Dozens of these very promising cancer treatments are not being fully developed because they do not fit the standard drug development model where drugs must be highly profitable for pharmaceutical companies. Organizations such as GlobalCures and the Anticancer Fund have spent years identifying these repurposing opportunities by examining published data from thousands of pre-clinical studies and Phase I/II clinical trials. These groups have published a series of articles describing the data and rationale for some of the most promising candidates as part of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology Project.
CWR-4C will raise funds to create a drug repurposing KnowledgeBase. The KnowledgeBase will curate the large amount of published information and systematically assess and prioritize repurposing opportunities for further development. The KnowledgeBase will be made available to physicians, patients, and researchers to increase awareness of the existing data.
"Many of the most promising candidates can go straight into definitive Phase II/III clinical trials, without additional pre-clinical or Phase I studies," said CWR-4C's Director of Strategic Development Dr. Dale Flanders. "We will identify funding and develop new incentives to enable these trials. For instance, pre-surgical use of the NSAID ketorolac could immediately be evaluated in Phase III trials for early-stage lung and breast cancers. The rationale for this inexpensive treatment is strongly supported by clinical data. By preventing cancer recurrence, it could save more than 15,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs each year in the U.S. alone."
CWR-4C will explore various funding mechanisms for generic drug repurposing, including purely philanthropic and innovative sustainability models, and work with government to create new incentives. CWR has been assessing the use of social impact bonds to fund repurposing research and leverage the billions of dollars of healthcare savings that effective repurposed therapies could generate. CWR-4C plans to extend this effort for large cancer clinical trials.
Even with positive outcomes from Phase III trials, repurposed generics may not become part of standard medical care. The CWR-4C team believes that this is because they are not developed by industry, and therefore suffer from limited financial resources, barriers to acceptance, and lack of a dedicated advocate. CWR-4C will fill this role to help change standard of care and insurance reimbursement so all cancer patients can access and benefit from these valuable treatments.
Dr. Bruce Bloom, President and Chief Science Officer of CWR, explains why CWR-4C is critical to creating patient impact through drug repurposing. "Cures Within Reach for Cancer will work on both the global and individual levels. In addition to being the driver for making repurposed drugs widely available following successful clinical trials, Cures Within Reach for Cancer will help cancer patients now. There is a wealth of scientific and clinical data that can guide creation of treatment protocols for cancer patients who do not have effective therapies, but it is difficult for physicians to find and assess the treatment options. Cures Within Reach for Cancer's KnowledgeBase will facilitate this process so physicians and patients can make well-informed decisions about off-label use."
"Cures Within Reach has a long track record of funding Phase I/II clinical trials for repurposed drugs and changing standard of care for rare diseases," said Dr. Kleiman. "We are thrilled to partner with Bruce and his team to increase funding for and accelerate development of very promising cancer treatments."
ABOUT CURES WITHIN REACH
Cures Within Reach works to catalyze repurposing research for all diseases to quickly and affordably improve patient lives. This is accomplished through collaborations that connect researchers and funding, by facilitating crowdsourcing and community, and by identifying alternative financing models and incentives. More information at http://www.cureswithinreach.org
ABOUT CURES WITHIN REACH FOR CANCER
Cures Within Reach for Cancer aims to 1) systematically assess and prioritize generic drug repurposing opportunities through the creation of a KnowledgeBase;