So-called drug repurposing has taken hold in recent years as a development process aimed at giving new life for new indications to drugs that have been on the market for some time and are often off-patent. On the occasion of the first conference on drug repurposing, held at the beginning of March in Barcelona, EFPIA published a position paper highlighting some important elements, from an innovator industry perspective, to optimise drug repurposing activities.

Repurposing activities should be increasingly supported in the future by the ability of new artificial intelligences to select the most promising molecules within very large sets of possible candidates. However, there is currently no unambiguous definition of the term repurposing. From this point of view, the position paper indicates that repurposing generally refers to molecules without patent and regulatory data protection, for which regulatory-grade evidence supporting a potential new use is made available, also by non-profit third parties such as universities. EFPIA emphasises that this definition excludes from the scope of repurposing activities typical of innovator companies, such as new uses of products in development (such as new dosage forms or formulations) or drugs that have recently been approved and for which the originator company is still carrying out some activities, as well as abandoned compounds.