Seven firms will make 68 stalled compounds available for academic research

68 stalled pharmaceutical compounds are being made available for academic research through the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). Seven major drug companies, including AstraZeneca (AZ) and Pfizer, have partnered with the MRC to release molecules that dropped out of their pipelines.

The new initiative takes its cue from an existing collaboration between the MRC and AZ, which has allowed researchers access to 22 of its compounds. AZ, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Lilly, Takeda and UCB have all contributed to the library of deprioritised pharma molecules. The library includes compounds that were initially developed for diseases such as cancer and diabetes. However, their development stalled during testing for various reasons.

‘These compounds are valuable to academic researchers,’ said UK business secretary Vince Cable when he announced the partnership in July 2014. ‘Repurposing abandoned compounds could lead to the development of new medicines for many debilitating conditions.’ The MRC hopes to expand the partnership to include more companies and molecules in the future.