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THE PHARMA REVIEW (OCTOBER 2008)

Drug Discovery Today: Impact of Technological
Advances and Challenges

Ajay G. Pise, D. Sreedhar, Manthan Janodia, Virendra Ligade, N. Udupa

Introduction: In recent years, technological advances have changed the face of drug discovery beyond imagination. Applications of new drug development technologies have changed the entire scenario of pharmaceutical field and indeed the human life in recent era. In the area of drug development, introduction of computer aided technologies for clinical trials and moleculer synthesis is a milestone in the evolution of modern pharmaceutical sciences. In addition, the emergence of genomics and proteomics has changed the concept of drug discovery.

Drug Discovery Scenario
In today's changed scenario the drug discovery process starts at the gene level, it requires the knowledge of molecular biology to link the human disease with the functions of gene. It reflects that drug discovery has undergone a paradigm shift towards molecular biology, bio-informatics and genomic science. Today, genomics, proteomics, and combinatorial chemistry, are the buzzwords of research scholars. Technological advances have stimulated the growth of new drug entry in pharma market around the world. Indian IT companies are also contributing by offering required database solutions for major pharmaceutical and genome-based biotech companies, which is necessary for creating, storing and annotating genomic data for new drug development.

Nowadays, US$800mn - $1.4 billion is the approximate cost to bring a drug from the research lab to the market with its long gestation period of not less than 12 years. Only one of every 10,000 compounds will complete its successful journey from the research lab to the retail shop. Patenting and other regulatory process in India may further delay its entry in the market.

Today, drugs in the segment of alimentary tract and metabolism treatment, systemic anti-infectives, cardiovascular system, respiratory system are in high demand. Pharmaceutical companies are exploring healthcare market in these lucrative segments. As lifestyle is changing and major population is prone to lifestyle related diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and excessive obesity, it is predicted that future pharmaceutical market will be concentrated to these segments. To survive in this cut-throat competition, pharmaceutical companies can concentrate their research and development efforts more to anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, and anti-obese market segment.

 

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