Using What We Already Have: Uncovering New Drug Repurposing Strategies in Existing Omics Data

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2020 Jan 6:60:333-352. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010919-023537. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


The promise of drug repurposing is to accelerate the translation of knowledge to treatment of human disease, bypassing common challenges associated with drug development to be more time- and cost-efficient. Repurposing has an increased chance of success due to the previous validation of drug safety and allows for the incorporation of omics. Hypothesis-generating omics processes inform drug repurposing decision-making methods on drug efficacy and toxicity. This review summarizes drug repurposing strategies and methodologies in the context of the following omics fields: genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, microbiomics, phenomics, pregomics, and personomics. While each omics field has specific strengths and limitations, incorporating omics into the drug repurposing landscape is integral to its success.

Keywords: big data; drug development; drug repurposing; omics; precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Decision Making
  • Drug Development / economics
  • Drug Development / methods
  • Drug Repositioning / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations