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. 2018 Mar;23(3):661-672.
doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2018.01.018. Epub 2018 Jan 9.

A Bibliometric Review of Drug Repurposing

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A Bibliometric Review of Drug Repurposing

Nancy C Baker et al. Drug Discov Today. .
Free PMC article


We have conducted a bibliometric review of drug repurposing by scanning >25 million papers in PubMed and using text-mining methods to gather, count and analyze chemical-disease therapeutic relationships. We find that >60% of the ∼35,000 drugs or drug candidates identified in our study have been tried in more than one disease, including 189 drugs that have been tried in >300 diseases each. Whereas in the majority of cases these drugs were applied in therapeutic areas close to their original use, there have been striking, and perhaps instructive, successful attempts of drug repurposing for unexpected, novel therapeutic areas.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of interest

S.E. is CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals and Phoenix Nest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Growth of repurposing over time for (a) chlorpromazine and (b) chloroquine. Although both drugs have been tried in nearly 400 diseases, the rate of growth and the number of diseases for which studies progressed to clinical trials differ.

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