In 2010, Every Cure Co-Founder Dr. David Fajgenbaum was a 3rd year medical student when he became critically ill with Castleman disease (CD). He spent months hospitalized in critical condition and nearly died five times before launching an initiative to find treatments to save his life and others. Dr. Fajgenbaum’s team discovered an overactive pathway in his immune system and began testing a 25-year-old drug to block it that had never been used for CD. He has now been in remission for over 8 years, with countless other patients benefitting from this repurposed treatment. To develop efficient approaches for accelerating drug repurposing for other patients, Dr. Fajgenbaum’s team at Penn Medicine repeated this approach to identify and advance additional treatments for CD, angiosarcoma, and COVID-19.
We are deeply passionate about uncovering repurposed drugs for patients who are suffering while there is a drug sitting at their neighborhood pharmacy, and want to scale drug repurposing to help each and every patient who may benefit by using an already existing drug.
Patients around the world die every day from diseases that could have been cured by a drug sitting on the shelf at their local pharmacy. Unfortunately, no one knows to try these drugs because no systematic efforts have been made to unlock the full potential of their use across diseases. Though many diseases share common mechanisms and can benefit from the same drugs, the ~3,000 FDA-approved treatments are only approved for ~3,000 human diseases and another ~9,000 diseases affecting millions of people do not have any approved treatments. The current model requires $1-2B and 10-15 years to develop a single new FDA-approved drug. Repurposing safe, widely available drugs for new indications is faster and less expensive, with the greatest return on investment for saving lives.
Repurposing drugs has proven effective for Castleman disease (CD) and other conditions. Every Cure co-founder Dr. David Fajgenbaum nearly died five times from CD before discovering that the inexpensive transplant drug sirolimus was also effective for CD. This discovery has saved countless patients’ lives, including Dr. Fajgenbaum’s and inspired the creation of Every Cure. Dr. Fajgenbaum’s team has identified 9 other CD treatments as well as treatments for cancer and COVID-19, including guiding the selection of drugs for the groundbreaking ACTIV-6 clinical trial. Incredibly, dexamethasone and tocilizumab, which were rapidly repurposed as treatments for COVID-19, have likely saved the most lives during this pandemic.
Unfortunately, insufficient incentives, siloed data, misaligned stakeholders, and other market failures have impeded the identification of all potential uses for all drugs, especially low-cost, generic drugs. The incomplete utilization of existing drugs and focus on new, expensive drugs has a disproportionately negative impact on individuals in areas with reduced access to medicines.
Society needs a systematic effort to identify the most promising drug repurposing opportunities and bring them to patients, which would save precious lives and enormous costs.
Every Cure is dedicated to unlocking all diseases that all existing drugs can treat by developing a comprehensive, open-source database of drug repurposing opportunities, and launching clinical trials of the most promising treatments. Specifically, Every Cure will obtain, integrate, and analyze multiple data sources (e.g., PubMed, public data repositories, clinicaltrials.gov, medical record data, pathway and drug databases), utilize natural language processing, and apply a machine learning algorithm modeled after its COVID-19 algorithm to identify the most promising drug repurposing opportunities. Every Cure will integrate insights from disease experts and pharmaceutical companies to further refine its assessment of the most promising repurposing opportunities and partner with disease research organizations to perform clinical trials of these opportunities. This approach has previously identified drug repurposing opportunities for Castleman disease, COVID-19, and angiosarcoma, and an initial pilot uncovered 106 promising drug repurposing opportunities in a first-set of 147 diseases. Now, Every Cure is scaling this work to all known diseases and drugs.
This project overcomes systemic challenges that have impeded the identification of all potential uses for all drugs by aggregating data and aligning stakeholders and financial incentives. The non-profit organizational structure will ensure that generic drugs with no commercial incentive for repurposing will be pursued by Every Cure in promising new indications. Their team will contribute expertise in drug discovery and repurposing, patient-driven research, informatic analyses, and clinical trial execution. Every Cure will establish collaborative partnerships with leading philanthropic organizations, medical informatics firms, tech companies, and biopharmaceutical companies, among others to obtain funding, data, data science tools, and actionable insights.