Collaborative Drug Repositioning Profiled in the Wall Street Journal

In a highly collaborative study, Dr. Atul Butte and collaborators at Stanford, multiple CROs, and Numedii using public databases plus new algorithms have “found that topiramate, a drug used in epilepsy, might work on inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Another hit suggested that cimetidine, an ulcer drug, might be effective in lung cancer” was profiled by Amy Marcus in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).  The studies were initially reported in Science Translational Medicine.

Coincidence?  As Louis Pasteur once said, “Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.”

There are collaborative drug discovery connections on multiple levels to this new story.  These published results follow closely upon the heels of CDD’s co-sponsored drug repositioning conference panel with posted talk transcripts from Christopher Lipinski, David Cavalla, Noel Southall and Barry Bunin, as well as some hints on the business models in this evolving space.

And the studies harken back to an earlier drug discovery collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline sharing >13,000 chemical structures and malaria SAR data hosted first privately and then publicly on CDD that, ironically, was also highlighted in the “Glaxo tries a Linux Approach” article by the same WSJ. It does not take lots of imagination to see that if collaborative approaches are more economical for drug repositioning and neglected diseases, that they will in fact be more economical for all drug discovery.