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NCATS Now Accepting Applications from Leading Academic Researchers for Next Wave of Program

Pfizer and a number of its industry peers, including Janssen Research & Development, L.L.C. and Sanofi, have committed 26 new agents to The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to expand its Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules program. NCATS is now accepting applications for the program, which is focused on matching academic researchers with dozens of pharmaceutical, industry-owned molecules that have cleared many steps in the drug development process, but that may not have fit into a company’s pipeline or strategy, to explore new treatments in pediatric indications. Interested researchers can submit a pre-application by July 15, 2014, using the following link New Therapeutics Funding Information Web page.

"Repurposing investigational drugs from earlier R&D efforts to probe human biology and validate disease pathways can offer a new approach for innovation and medical advance," said Mikael Dolsten, President, Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer. “Leveraging the strong collaboration amongst our industry peers, academia and the NIH enables us to strengthen the overall health innovation environment.”

The Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules program was launched as a pilot collaboration by NCATS, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies in May 2012. The NIH announced final awards in June 2013, initially awarding $12.7M to nine academic research groups to explore new treatments for patients in eight disease areas (NIH Press Release). The final award announcement included support for two studies using Pfizer compounds:

  • Translational neuroscience optimization of GlyT1 inhibitor for cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia (CIAS), awarded to Dr. John H. Krystal from Yale University; and
  • A novel Ghrelin Inverse Agonist for alcoholism treatment: A translational strategy, awarded to Dr. Fatemeh Akhlaghi from the University of Rhode Island and Dr. Lorenzo Leggio from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism