IBJNews

Lilly letting U.S. researchers test failed compounds for new uses

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

More than 20 compounds that Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc failed to turn into drugs will be tested by U.S.-sponsored scientists in a $20 million program to see if they’ll work against ailments they weren’t aimed at previously.

If they do, the time to market will be shorter and the drugmakers, who retain ownership of the compounds, will share profits with the researchers, who keep intellectual property rights. Traditionally, companies spend about $2 billion and take 14 years to develop drugs, a so-called “valley-of-death” commitment that’s stalled progress as drugmakers move cautiously in deciding which illness to target.

The joint program, a first for the National Institutes of Health, is designed to lessen their risk, funded by $575 million in the United State's fiscal 2013 budget. The agency cited the HIV treatment AZT, created from failed attempts to treat cancer, in explaining the partnership.

“We need to generate more of these success stories in a more systematic manner,” NIH director Francis Collins said during a news conference announcing the agreements..

The compounds by Indianapolis-based Lilly, New York-based Pfizer and London-based AstraZeneca will make available have already been shown to be safe in humans.

“For us, there is just benefits, in a way,” said Jan Lundberg, executive vice president for science and technology at Lilly.

Drugmakers will have to provide the compounds to researchers, which may requiring manufacturing more of the substances, Lundberg said.

The companies also face costs for maintaining patents on the compounds and for gathering and transmitting clinical data to scientists, said Don Frail, vice president for science and new opportunities at London-based AstraZeneca.

“There’s not a shelf of discontinued compounds that you can just pull one off and give to somebody,” Frail said. Clinical supplies alone, should the compounds enter human trials, may cost as much as $1 million, he said.

Collins said he is hopeful the work will lead to new treatments for diseases of the central nervous system, which have proved so difficult to attack that drug companies are dissuaded from investing in them.

Rod Mackenzie, a senior vice president at Pfizer, said neurological diseases are “one of the great health crises we face across the globe.”

“We need to do better there,” he said.

Should the drugs prove effective against a new disease, the companies will have the option to develop them into a marketed product, the agency said. Taxpayers would get a financial benefit only if an NIH scientist is a researcher on one of the compounds. Then royalties would flow back to the U.S. agency.

“Americans are eagerly awaiting the next generation of cures and treatments to help them live longer and healthier lives,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in a statement. “To accelerate our nation’s therapeutic development process, it is essential that we forge strong, innovative and strategic partnerships across government, academia and industry.”

The bottom-line benefit for the public is societal, Collins said. Diseases that don’t have treatments now may get one, he said.The drugmakers will give researchers access to the chemicals and related data, the NIH said in a statement.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).

ADVERTISEMENT