CERGAS Seminar "Opening the black box of drug repurposing: data science and new innovation strategies in biopharma"

Meeting people

Over the last twenty years, drug repurposing (the re-use of existing drugs for new disease targets) has grown in importance as an approach to R&D in the pharmaceutical sector. This has been stimulated by technological innovations in data science and the availability of new data sources. These have moved repurposing from a serendipitous to a planned R&D activity.

The presentation describes the segment of the pharmaceutical industry that is actively involved in repurposing and the changing approaches to repurposing, and asks whether this can be seen as emerging ecosystem. The growth of repurposing is a real phenomenon, but it cannot yet be said to have become established in the mainstream drug industry. Large incumbent drug companies do not feel threatened by repurposing companies in the same way they did when biotechnology companies emerged in the 1990s. The expansion of repurposing is currently hindered by regulatory and intellectual property factors, and insufficiently attractive for investors.


James Barlow is a Professor of Technology and Innovation Management (Healthcare) at Imperial College Business School and a member of the School's Centre for Health Economics and Policy Innovation. He has worked on healthcare innovation issues for over 25 years, focusing on the challenges innovators, companies, healthcare organisations and policymakers face in embedding innovations into everyday practice. He also has over 10 years’ experience working on innovation in the construction and housing sectors.

James has led many research projects in the UK and abroad. These include extensive work on the development of remote care technologies, which helped influenced UK government policy in the field, and a major multi-partner research programme on innovation and the built infrastructure for healthcare.

James’ current work is focusing on the performance of the UK’s biopharma sector and the ecosystem of data science players driving innovation in drug development. He is also working with colleagues in Sweden on the implementation of AI in healthcare services and the interaction between digital health startups, funders and healthcare purchasers. His research has been published widely in leading journals and his latest book is Managing Innovation in Healthcare.

James advises and consults for government, health services, and health technology companies, and he currently sits on research and industry advisory boards in the UK, Canada and Sweden. His leads executive education programmes at Imperial College London on healthcare innovation and healthcare futures, and on digital health transformation.

Link zoom: https://unibocconi-it.zoom.us/j/97290692461?pwd=eEhFQUIydE9GaXdiVm1oRFZUWi9KQT09

Meeting ID: 972 9069 2461

Passcode: 622147

For those willing to participate in person, please write to erica.dugnani@sdabocconi.it before Friday, September 14th.