Breaking Down the Barriers to New Drug Development
Where will the next generation of drugs come from? A major new initiative is helping industry and academic institutions “break down the barriers” to new drug development. The CTSI Regional Drug Discovery and Repurposing Initiative (DDRI) aims to expedite the development of new drugs and devices, or find new uses for existing drugs, to target unmet disease paradigms.
[pullquote align=”right”]What is so unique about this effort, is that it crosses institutional boundaries to accomplish a goal that none of the partners could achieve on its own.[/pullquote]The process of drug development can take a very long time, typically longer than 13 years to get a new drug to market. Now, the Regional DDRI has made it possible for researchers to initiate collaborative drug development with new or existing small molecules, compounds or biologics. Drugs that are being repurposed have been used in previous studies, and abandoned or left undeveloped. In recent years, drug manufacturers have been scaling back on the production of new drugs, so new treatments and devices will most likely come from collaborative efforts like the ones initiated by the Regional DDRI.
“What is so unique about this effort, is that it crosses institutional boundaries to accomplish a goal that none of the partners could achieve on its own,” said President John Raymond of the Medical College of Wisconsin. “This kind of collaboration is exactly what is needed to accomplish a goal as complex and lofty as taking a drug from the basic research bench to the clinical bedside.”
Many “repurposed” or “rescued” drugs have already been tested on humans, so detailed information is available on their pharmacology, formulation and potential toxicity. Building upon previous research, new interventions could be ready for clinical trials more quickly, submitted to the FDA for approval, and ready for use by the community in a much faster process.
The DDRI is an inter-institutional alliance, formed under the umbrella of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) and includes five partner organizations: the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM), Marquette University (MU), Blood Research Institute (BRI), the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), as well as Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW). Forming the Regional DDRI under the CTSI will also allow for researchers and investigators to apply and use governmental funding in the development of new drugs and devices.