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Crunched credit wiped out many biotech firms in 2009, yet some emerged from the wreckage leaner and stronger. How did they do it, asks Dr Sukaina Virji-Jeganathan.
The repositioning of drugs for new clinical indications is becoming an increasingly prominent development strategy because it can reduce development risk as well as both the time and investment required to bring a product to market. Previously exclusive to pharmaceutical companies working to expand the applications of their marketed drugs, repositioning (also known as repurposing, reprofiling, therapeutic switching, or developing 'second use' indications) has emerged as an industry in its own right, encompassing both technology and drug companies. Today, companies involved in repositioning are charging for their services, establishing collaborative agreements and using the strategy to develop their own pipelines.
The recent setback in SUI by Lilly's depression drug duloxetine may have implcations for a handful of biotech companies aiming to exploit their knowledge of the brain-gut axis to develop CNS drugs for IBS, OAB and other below-the-belt indications. Dynogen and Vela are two companies with promising products in the area.
Lectus was founded in December 2002, to develop and commercialize a second generation of ion channel modulating drugs. By targeting the plethora of accessory proteins that regulate the activity of the ion channel pore-forming proteins rather than the pore-forming proteins themselves Lectus believes its drugs will be safer and more effective than currently marketed products.