This morning, the National Institutes of Health National Center for Translational Science (NCATS) unveiled Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules, a new collaborative program that connects researchers with industry-developed molecules and data. Through their partnership with NCATS, Lilly, Pfizer and AstraZeneca will make dozens of their molecules available for the initiative's pilot phase.
As you might gather from its name, the new program focuses on exploring existing molecules that have already cleared several key development steps in order to identify new uses for potential medicines. NIH Director Francis Collins explained the need behind NCATS and the new program: "Clearly, we need to speed the pace at which we are turning discoveries into better health outcomes."
Lilly's own President of Lilly Research Laboratories, Jan Lundberg, P.h.D. joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for the announcement in Washington, DC. Dr. Lundberg explained Lilly's eagerness to join the initiative in its pilot phase, saying, "Discovering and developing new medicines, regardless of the therapeutic area being studied, is a complex and expensive process and we look forward to collaborating with the NIH and academia for the benefit of the patients we serve."