Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Applying the Lessons of the Past to the Challenges of COVID-19
Repurposing has the objective of targeting existing drugs and failed, abandoned, or yet-to-be-pursued clinical candidates to new disease areas. The open-source model permits for the sharing of data, resources, compounds, clinical molecules, small libraries, and screening platforms to cost-effectively advance old drugs and/or candid
ates into clinical re-development. Clearly, at the core of drug-repurposing activities is colla
boration, in many cases progressing beyond the open sharing of resources, technology, and intellectual property, to the sharing of facilities and joint program development to foster drug-repurposing human-capacity development. A variety of initiatives under way for drug repurposing, including those targeting rare and neglected diseases, are discussed in this review and provide insight into the stakeholders engaged in drug-repurposing discovery, the models of collaboration used, the intellectual property-management policies crafted, and human capacity developed. In the case of neglected tropical diseases, it is suggested that the development of human capital be a central aspect of drug-repurposing programs. Open-source models can support human-capital development through collaborative data generation, open compound access, open and collaborative screening, preclinical and possibly clinical studies. Given the urgency of drug development for neglected tropica
l diseases, the review suggests elements from current repurposing programs be extended to the neglected tropical diseases arena.