Develop 100 drugs in 10 years. That’s the ambitious goal set by a group of scientists and engineers at the University of Utah, founders of Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company that is able to quickly and affordably identify unexpected ways a drug could be used by testing it on diseased cells.
The disruptive approach to drug development, aided by custom-designed software capable of tracking changes, or signs of healing, in cells, could speed discovery of therapies for so-called “orphan” diseases.
Scientists at Recursion have already identified two possible therapies for cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), a rare hereditary vascular disease that leads to hemorrhagic strokes––including an over-the-counter, vitamin D supplement (cholecalciferol). A study showing that the compounds successfully reduced lesions by 50 percent in a mouse model of human CCM disease will be published Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation.