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NIH chief preps pact to revive shelved drug programs

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NIH Director Francis Collins is well known for his ability to entertain an audience. At TEDMED, he brought out his guitar for a song about fighting diseases. Then he enthralled the biotech execs in the audience with the prospects of unleashing a full pipeline of shelved therapies that could promise to start over in the clinic with a big head start on fresh targets.

Collins believes that biopharma companies that pushed a drug past initial studies--gathering positive safety data and initial efficacy signs, and then icing them after they failed in mid- and late-stage trials--should get those programs out of deep freeze. Some of those failed treatments can be repurposed, he told the crowd, and begin again in Phase II proof-of-concept studies in their new indications, according to The Wall Street Journal's health blog.

The hurdle? IP concerns. So NIH has been hammering out a model agreement with the drug development industry and now is hunting up signatures to get the ball rolling. And the Journal notes that there's more news expected on this front.

- here's the story from The Wall Street Journal

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