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European Biopharmaceutical Review

COVID-19 Highlights the Value of Drug Repurposing and Why We Should Continue

There has always been a level of drug repurposing in the life sciences industry, with companies reviewing their portfolios to see which products could be used elsewhere, bringing clear time and cost benefits. While traditional drug development tends to take at least 10 years and cost $1-2 billion, a repurposed drug can cut both of these down significantly because preclinical and early phase testing have already been completed to establish the drug’s safety. The University of Cambridge has suggested that repurposing success rates can range from 30% to almost 70%, compared to the average success rate of 10% for new drug candidates.

However, there can be a surface-level misconception about what drug repurposing means in practice. When people think about drug repurposing, they might think of treatments which have been reconstituted to do something completely different. Viagra, originally developed solely for the treatment of hypertension, perhaps being the most famous. Or Botox, once created to improve cross-eyedness, being another. In both cases, the drug ended up being used for a very different purpose than initially set out.

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Pete Buckman is Senior Vice President at Medidata and manages the Professional Services teams in Europe and Asia. Additionally, he’s spent the last few years helping Medidata to establish their business in Korea and China. Pete started his career as a Software Engineer in the Avionics industry, and moved to the life science sector in the 1990s, where he started working for the first electronic patient-reported outcomes company. Realising his love of working with people, he quickly moved from software engineering into project management. Since then, Pete has been leading teams, departments, and business units.
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