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Shelved Drugs Become a New Research Resource

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which is the newest branch of the National Institutes of Health, is partnering with big pharma to give academic researchers access to more than 20 drugs that have passed some safety testing in humans but for some reason have been iced by the drug makers.

In a press release, the agency announced that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly will make dozens of their compounds available to researchers who will be able to search for new uses for drugs.

NCATS will back the awkwardly named Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules with $20 million in 2013. According to the release, the companies will provide researchers with the compounds and related data. The partnerships set up by the program will give academics rights to any intellectual property or publications that come from their work with the compounds while the drug makers will retain ownership of the drugs .

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