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News | 17 November 2020

Healx’s Rare Treatment Accelerator 2.0 opens to unlock the power of repurposed drugs for rare diseases

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Healx, the AI-powered, patient-inspired technology company specialising in treatments for rare diseases, has today opened applications to v.2.0 of its Rare Treatment Accelerator. Building on the success of their v.1.0 call last year, which was focused on patient group partnerships, Healx is now looking to build a global network of academic groups, patient groups and early-stage biotechs to accelerate promising drug repurposing opportunities to the clinic.

Today, Healx is proud to launch a new and expanded version of the Rare Treatment Accelerator (RTA), its innovative partnership programme which connects academic groups, patient groups and early-stage biotechs with Healx’s team of experts to unlock the power of repurposed drugs for rare diseases – 95% of which are still without an approved treatment. 

Recognising the all-too-common lack of financial investment and clinical expertise needed to translate repurposed drugs from research to reality, Healx is looking to promising drug repurposing opportunities for rare diseases from academic groups, patient groups and early-stage biotechs who need additional support to bring them to patients. ‘Promising’ here means that there is good evidence that the repurposed drug has therapeutic effects in preclinical models of the rare disease(s), and is therefore suitable to move to a human clinical trial. 

Through the RTA, Healx will use its AI, drug development and clinical expertise, as well as significant financial resources, to evaluate, enhance and accelerate the repurposed drugs, with the aim of starting a clinical trial within 6 – 12 months.

What to expect from the RTA 2.0

Applications open to academic groups, patient groups and early-stage biotechs: This year, the team is looking to partner with groups who have identified promising drug repurposing opportunities for rare diseases with validated clinical endpoints, and who have also generated a strong preclinical data package.

Open to all disease areas: The team is very interested in applications from academic groups, patient groups and early-stage biotechs that complement Healx’s existing in-house expertise and portfolio. Healx are also welcoming applications from groups working on other rare conditions where there are relevant assets, resources and data available to enable the team to accelerate projects into the clinic.   

Financial resources provided: Acknowledging the financial barriers that often prevent research reaching the clinic, Healx will manage the costs and process of clinical trial and regulatory approval for all successful applications, with the aim of starting a trial within 6 – 12 months. 

Apply quickly online: Healx has developed a short eligibility questionnaire for groups to register their interest in the RTA. This questionnaire will help the Healx team learn more about the group’s work and disease area(s) of interest. The Healx team will review every questionnaire and individually contact each group to offer feedback on their application. When the asset of an academic group has the elements Healx requires for a drug development programme to reach the clinic, Healx will invite the group to complete a full RTA application.

Application window open all year round: Rather than having a limited window for applications, this new system will enable groups to submit their eligibility questionnaire at any point throughout the year, whenever they’re ready to work with Healx. 

Dr Bruce Bloom, Chief Collaboration Officer at Healx, commented: “We firmly believe in the potential for repurposed drugs to revolutionise care for rare disease patients at scale, giving them access to novel treatments quickly, safely and more cost-effectively than current methods allow. To grow our rare disease impact further, we are looking forward to building a global ecosystem of partners to help unlock the huge potential of drug repurposing for rare disease patients in need.”

The RTA 2.0 is open for applications now. For further information on the RTA or for FAQs, please click here.