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Pioneer in Castleman's Disease Launches Nonprofit Drug Repurposing Organization

Analysis  |  By Robin Robinson  
   September 20, 2022

David Fajgenbaum and Grant Mitchell unveil Every Cure at Clinton Global Initiative.

    The organization, Every Cure, is cofounded with Grant W Mitchell, MD, MBA and Tracey Dikora to create a novel end-to-end approach for identifying promising drug repurposing opportunities, by performing clinical trials that definitively demonstrate whether the drugs will work or not, and then working with disease organizations to ensure that they're used in the right patients, Mitchell tells Health Leaders.

    Prior to Every Cure, Mitchell led a team at McKinsey & Co. to mine medical records and real-world data in pursuit of new uses for drugs. Dikora has studied repurposed drugs in rare diseases, including Niemann Pick C, MPS I, Familial Hypercholesterolemia, and others.

    The launch was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative, a meeting of global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges brought together by the Clinton Foundation.

    "We already have the tools we need to find new cures to deadly diseases," former president Bill Clinton said in a statement about Every Cure. "We just have to connect the dots between the research and the drugs available."

    And that is just what Every Cure is all about. It plans to raise $55 million to fund its mission, which includes coordinating drug data, identifying generics that might offer hope for patients with a rare disease and bring the most promising drugs to clinical trials. The org says it is taking responsibility for making sure all appropriate drugs are fully tested for other diseases they can help treat, since no other agency, company or person is being held accountable for this concept. The nonprofit will create a central database on all the work being done in this space and make it available to all. Every Cure has already begun developing an algorithm to help identify possible other uses for existing drugs that they will then test in clinical trials. In an initial pilot, it has already identified 106 drugs that might treat 147 of the 9,000 rare diseases.
    "Repurposing existing drugs is the fastest and cheapest way to treat diseases with the greatest return on investment for saving lives," Mitchell says. "Systemic barriers impede repurposing, so patients suffer while potential treatments are not fully utilized. Every Cure overcomes these barriers to systematically identify and advance promising repurposing opportunities and save lives."

    There are many pharmaceutical companies using drug repurposing to build pipelines, and some of the more notable ones have been discovered by accident, such as sildenafil citrate, which failed in clinical trials as a high blood pressure treatment but became world renown as Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction. It has also been found to benefit children with a rare form of lung disease.
    Instead of creating new indications for drugs through serendipity, Every Cure believes there needs to be a correlated and strategic effort within the industry to identify the most promising drug repurposing opportunities and bring them to patients, saving lives and costs.

    "Our mission is to scale our efforts to all drugs and all diseases so that no patient has to needlessly suffer when a cure is hiding in plain sight," Mitchell says.

    David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc is the author of Chasing My Cure: A Doctor's Race to Turn Hope into Action; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Translational Medicine & Human Genetics, University of Pennsylvania; Founding Director, Center for Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory; Associate Director, Patient Impact, Orphan Disease Center, University of Pennsylvania; Co-Founder & President, Castleman Disease Collaborative Network.



    “We already have the tools we need to find new cures to deadly diseases. We just have to connect the dots between the research and the drugs available.”

    Robin Robinson is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders. 


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