Every Cure to receive $48.3m to develop AI-driven platform for drug development and repurposing

Every Cure, a nonprofit on a mission to save lives by repurposing existing medicines, has secured significant funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

The three-year, $48.3 million contract was unveiled at the White House and represents a substantial federal investment in drug repurposing. It will accelerate Every Cure’s mission to unlock the full potential of existing drugs to treat more diseases through the development of an AI-powered platform, called ML/AI-enabled Therapeutic Repurposing In eXtended uses (MATRIX). 

“I’m alive and in remission from my rare disease thanks to a repurposed drug that I discovered. While Ozempic is a recent example of drug repurposing, the concept is not new,” said David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, Co-Founder and President of Every Cure and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Through Every Cure, we are working tirelessly to unlock the full potential of FDA-approved drugs to treat many more diseases. This funding comes at a pivotal time, allowing us to scale our approach across diseases to pioneer new treatments for millions of people around the world without options.”

Established in 2022 by the Biden-Harris Administration, ARPA-H is a new federal agency that aims to advance high-potential, high-impact biomedical and health research that cannot be readily accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity.

The ARPA-H funding will enable Every Cure to:

  • Develop an open-source drug repurposing database.
  • Establish a portal for physicians, researchers, and patients to contribute repurposing ideas.
  • Publicly release predictive efficacy scores for all drugs against all diseases.
  • Select numerous drugs for advancement to address neglected diseases in neglected populations.

“Rather than the current, one-step-at-a-time drug discovery process, we have an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to rapidly understand how already approved drugs could be effective against other diseases,” said ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D. “Through this project, we hope to unlock the full potential of existing medicines to quickly and safely bring therapies to people with rare or currently untreatable diseases.”

New drug discovery and traditional drug repurposing begins with one disease or one drug and seeks to identify the most promising matches for it, thus limiting the potential for finding the most promising life-saving treatments across all opportunities. Every Cure looks across all drugs and all diseases simultaneously and then quantifies the strength of those connections to find the most promising new treatments to help patients.

The MATRIX project builds upon previous work led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Biomedical Data Translator Program to structure biomedical data and perform targeted queries. In 2023, Every Cure partnered with an NCATS funded investigator at Penn State University, David Koslicki and other members of the Translator Program, to generate pilot rankings for all 3,000 FDA-approved drugs to treat all human diseases. One of the top hits was for a drug that was recently used to save a patient’s life.

By leveraging novel AI techniques to analyze the world’s biomedical knowledge, Every Cure is working to identify 100 potential treatment opportunities in the next five years and advance 25 into further research, including clinical trials. Promising early leads include arginine for sickle cell disease, folinic acid for autism spectrum disorder, and bosutinib for ALS.

Within the last year, Every Cure has received funding from leading organizations such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Flagship Pioneering, Elevate Prize Foundation, and Lyda Hill Philanthropies. With government and philanthropic support, Every Cure is seeking partnerships with healthcare organizations that may be open to sharing data and well-positioned to bring cures to patients who need them most.

“Society’s greatest life-saving resource is the trove of medicines we already have. Leveraging a systematic, disease agnostic approach for drug repurposing enables us to rapidly unlock new diseases they can treat and confirm the validity of AI discoveries in patients,” says Grant Mitchell, MD, MBA, Co-Founder & CEO of Every Cure. “We’re excited to make our research tools available to the public, advancing data-driven discovery and offering hope to patients worldwide.”

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