NIH chief preps pact to revive shelved drug programs

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