Uppsala University in EU investment in Drug repurposing

8 September 2022

Ola Spjuth, Professor of Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics at Uppsala University

Ola Spjuth, Professor of Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics at Uppsala University

SciLifeLab and the Faculty of Pharmacy receive key positions as the EU invests 25 million euros in a European platform to enhance repurposing of medicines. "To bring a promising idea all the way to a clinical study is a complex journey, with REMEDi4ALL we can create completely new conditions," says Ola Spjuth, Professor at Uppsala University.

The need for effective methods to test existing medicines for new areas of use - Drug repurposing - has been evident throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the European Union is allocating 25 million euros to REMEDi4ALL, a consortium where 24 universities and companies form a platform with the capacity to take promising candidates all the way to clinical studies.

“REMEDi4ALL unites a selection of research environments that, with joint expertise, will provide process support to streamline the road to new drug treatments. We have initial funding for five years to develop a solid structure and, in parallel, bring a number of projects all the way to completion,” says Ola Spjuth, Professor of Pharmaceutical Bioinformatics, whose robotised laboratory for cell profiling is one of the environments recruited to the consortium.

Repurposing of medicines is expected to become increasingly important. A recent study carried out at SciLifeLab shows in an analysis of a number of medicines that these can be used, on average, against eleven times more diseases than intended. The results, published in Nature Scientific Reports, also show that the scope for repurposing a drug is primarily determined by its ability to target more than one protein.

Ola Spjuth, Faculty of Pharmacy
Ola Spjuth, Faculty of Pharmacy

“Drug repurposing provides fantastic opportunities, but to bring a promising idea all the way to healthcare is a very complex journey. REMEDi4ALL will offer project support via numerous work packages, each with a specific focus area, together forming a pipeline that provides guidance to individual research groups every step up to clinical studies,” says Ola Spjuth.

From the start, REMEDi4ALL is integrated into EATRIS-ERIC, a European research infrastructure for translational medicine with Swedish node at Uppsala University. Operating within the framework of an already established partnership gives the consortium access to reinforcements in areas such as decision support and project management.

“The collaboration with EATRIS-ERIC is one of many factors that indicate that REMEDi4ALL will achieve its high set goals, and our research team enters the consortium with a very positive feeling. We get to develop and establish our own environment for Artificial Intelligence and cell painting, which is in an expansive phase, while expanding our networks with some of the world's leading environments in our field, and I am convinced that we, with joint force will create completely new conditions for Drug repurposing.”

Facts

  • Repurposing of Medicines 4 All (REMEDi4ALL) is a consortium that gather 24 companies and industries from all over Europe which, with EU funding, will establish a platform for Drug repurposing.
  • The Swedish work within REMEDi4ALL has its hub at SciLifeLab under the leadership of Ola Spjuth and Jordi Carreras Puigvert, Uppsala University, and Annika Jenmalm-Jensen and Päivi Östling, KI.
  • Ola Spjuth's research team will operate in three work packages with a focus on Research Data, tools and in silico discovery, In vitro discovery and Preclinical development & validation.