The AAPS Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 759–763 | Cite as

Drug Repurposing: Far Beyond New Targets for Old Drugs

  • T. I. OpreaEmail author
  • J. Mestres
Commentary Theme: New Paradigms in Pharmaceutical Sciences: In Silico Drug Discovery


Repurposing drugs requires finding novel therapeutic indications compared to the ones for which they were already approved. This is an increasingly utilized strategy for finding novel medicines, one that capitalizes on previous investments while derisking clinical activities. This approach is of interest primarily because we continue to face significant gaps in the drug–target interactions matrix and to accumulate safety and efficacy data during clinical studies. Collecting and making publicly available as much data as possible on the target profile of drugs offer opportunities for drug repurposing, but may limit the commercial applications by patent applications. Certain clinical applications may be more feasible for repurposing than others because of marked differences in side effect tolerance. Other factors that ought to be considered when assessing drug repurposing opportunities include relevance to the disease in question and the intellectual property landscape. These activities go far beyond the identification of new targets for old drugs.

Key words

drug repurposing drug–target interactions intellectual property side effect tolerance target identification 



This work was supported, in part, by NIH grants 5R21GM095952-02 and 5U54MH084690-04 (TIO) and by the Spanish Instituto de Salud Carlos III (JM) through the Drugs4Rare project within the framework of the International Rare Disease Research Consortium.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Translational Informatics Division, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of New Mexico School of Medicine, MSC10 5550, 1 University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems BiologyTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  3. 3.Chemogenomics Laboratory, Research Program on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB)IMIM—Hospital del Mar Research Institute and University Pompeu Fabra, Parc de Recerca BiomèdicaBarcelonaSpain

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