Knowledge recycling – i.e. reusing, recombining and contextualizing – must be recognised as a powerful approach to systematic innovation, especially for the biopharmaceutical industry. We should openly discuss its value and start using processes, tools and business models that make it an integral part of our business activities.
Sanofi’s recently announced Sunrise Initiative and other similar efforts on systematising innovation are a step in the right direction. But there are lessons to be learnt from earlier such initiatives including the need for innovative business models, for seeking early successes and for acknowledging the benefits of systematic knowledge reuse.
In an ideal world we shouldn’t need drug repositioning. In an ideal world we would know exactly how drugs work, we would have precision medicine and no need to find alternative indications. But we don’t live in an ideal world, not even an almost ideal one. And so for now, there seems to be a role for drug repositioning and even more so for systematic drug repositioning (SDR). But is SDR currently done in the best possible way? What about the art of SDR -how can we integrate SDR within an organization with minimum disruption to existing processes? And could SDR evolve to become a systematic discovery tool?