Repurposing Off-Patent Drugs Through Crowd Funding

Podcast, Videos


In our first Fireside Chat of 2023, Savva Kerdemelidis, Founder & CEO of Crowd Funded Cures, joined Natalie Yeadon, Co-founder & CEO of Impetus Digital, and explored the concepts of interventional pharmacoeconomics and pay-for-success contracts to fund new uses for off-patent drugs and other unmonopolizable therapies.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: You started the company as a charity. How did it go and why did it go from a charity to an actual company? Tell us a little bit about what that journey was, and the original inception or the idea behind what the company was in the first place.

A: The idea, as I mentioned, came from my thesis. I was looking at this particular gap in the patent system for what I would call unmonopolizable therapies and essentially these are therapies where you can’t enforce a monopoly price. It’s well recognized, for instance, it’s very difficult to stop people from taking a generic drug off-label, and what tends to happen is that once a generic drug does go off-label, it’s much less likely to be repurposed for a new use, unless you can reformulate it. Oftentimes, that’s seen as not very innovative or it’s the case where, actually, the original formulation might be slightly better. We have this perhaps happening with a drug called Esketamine, which is a treatment for treatment-resistant depression but the original formulation of ketamine is also very effective and might be even more effective. There are other examples like that, that didn’t exist at the time.

The charity was set up basically to test this idea of crowdfunding a price. That’s why we called it Crowdfunded Cures. It wasn’t direct crowdfunding; it was a little bit like Kickstarter. The idea was that you have almost like an agreement to pre-purchase clinical trial data and that acts as a pool incentive. Since then we’ve evolved away from this crowdfunding model and more onto a commercial model. We’re looking at what we call advanced market commitments, which are a little bit like a price. Also, this idea of interventional pharmacoeconomics which we can talk about.

We are still a charity actually but we are in the process of converting into a social enterprise with the charity that would own the company or part of the company. We have a bit of a team now of a few core team members and a broader team of volunteers. The idea is essentially to build this as a scalable business because if you’re a charity, it’s not really sustainable
and the idea is to create a business model around doing this kind of research.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Savva Kerdemelidis, or listen to the podcast version, below.

To check out previous Fireside Chats and to make sure that you don’t miss any future updates, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or our podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, kindly leave a review on iTunes.

About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.