Health Companies Aim to Teach Old Drugs New Tricks

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Three pharmaceutical giants are unlocking their freezers to see if government-funded scientists can reinvent some of their old drugs.

Lots of experimental drugs prove safe in human testing but fail to help the disease their manufacturer hoped to target.

The National Institutes of Health says those drugs might fight other diseases if only more scientists could test them.

It's happened before: A failed cancer treatment turned out to be the first effective AIDS drug.

So in a unique program, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly & Co. agreed Thursday to share two dozen of their shelved drugs, and the data about them, for NIH research.

In the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, it's "to see whether we can teach old drugs new tricks."


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