Conference flyerRESEARCH

Drug repurposing event in Barcelona

On the 6th and 7th of March 2024, the international conference iDR24 took place in the Modernist Campus at Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona (Spain), organized by REMEDi4ALL, Beacon for Rare Diseases and MeRIT. More than 50 speakers from across this broad range of disciplines gathered to deep-dive into the evolving landscape of drug repurposing. OIFE was represented by Miguel Rodríguez Molina, member of the Medical Advisory Board, to discover the potential of drug repurposing for more effective treatments for patients.

Miguel at entrance besides FlipchartThe conference started with the main speakers talking about the importance of repurposing as a part ot the European sustainable objectives goals. In the words of Donald Lo from Remedi4All, some drugs, intrinsically, have potential to treat more than one disease and, drug repurposing is not like recycling, but more like a Swiss knife.

The definition should be: A new use for existing drugs outside the current marketing authorisation. A new use for a new condition, or a patient group, a new dose or treatment schedule. The idea is that repurposing is cheaper and faster than normal development…but challenging.

MeRIT, the Medicines Repurposing International Network, emerges as a key organization to achieve these objectives in the future, conformed by 14 organizations, eight countries and the European Union, fostering collaboration and communication between publicity funds repurposing initiatives.

CURE- ID is working in the same field: This platform intends to identify promising medicines with potential for repurposing. It is designed to capture novel uses of existing drugs and unmet needs. Probably we are talking about the more important platform to identify ideas for repurposing before starting to fish in a sea full of unknown species.

Group Photo with participants of the conference


Some repurposing opportunities are:

– New ways of treating diseases
– New combinations of drugs that may be useful
– New dosing regimens and duration therapy
– New populations that may benefit from existing treatments
– Unapproved uses that do not work or are harmful to patients

The MOI-A trial (Losartan)

The Remedi4All consortium are currently working on four different repurposing demonstrator projects, including a project on OI called the MOI-A trial led by Prof. Nick Bishop from Sheffield, UK and Dr. Luca Sangiorgi from Bologna, Italy. The purpose of the MOI-A trial is to investigate if the blood pressure drug Losartan will reduce bone turnover in older adolescents and adults with OI by reducing circulating levels of TGFβ and TGFβ pathway signalling. The project aims to identify the dose of Losartan that is effective in reducing circulating levels of CTX, a bone resorption (destruction) marker, without causing undue side effects. The trial will have sites in UK and Italy. Read more on the project website or here.

Regarding Losartan, there was a poster presentation of the “MOI-A” Project in assessing the repurposing of Losartan in adults and adolescents with osteogenesis imperfecta, presenting the challenges found during the set up of this international study due to the variation in regulatory processes across the national boundaries.

Still lots of challenges remain

But the real fact is that today, getting a drug repurposed is really hard. The last sessions focused on getting repurposed drugs to patients. The main interesting conclusions are the great number of barriers found during the repurposing process. Data collected of about 200 hundred publications mentions a total of 770 explicit mentions of barriers, which is heartbreaking.

We can divide them in 9 main topics:

  • Perception of drug repurposing (DR)
  • Business case for repurposing on-patent medicines
  • Business case for repurposing off-patent medicines
  • Non-industry-funded DR
  • Ecosystem for DR outside big pharma companies
  • Market authorization
  • Market exclusivity, IP and off-label use
  • Health, technology, assessment
  • Pricing and reimbursement

What happens next?

With the last conclusions and a view to the next meeting 2nd REMEDi4all Multi-stakeholder meeting “Ensuring patient centricity in Osteogenesis Imperfecta research” which will take place in Bologna (Italy) the 13th of June 2024, this event ended.


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