Being under ever-increasing pressure to compete in a challenging economic and technological environment, pharmaceutical and biotech companies must continually innovate in their R&D programmes to stay ahead of the game.
External innovations come in different forms and originate in different places -- from university labs, to privately held venture capital-backed startups and contract research organizations (CROs). Let’s get to reviewing some of the most influential research trends which will be “hot” in 2018 and beyond, and summarize some of the key players driving innovations.
February 6 2018 will be marked in history as the day when an automobile embarked on a million year trip into far space. On that day, Falcon Heavy, the 230ft megarocket, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, bringing on board Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster with a crash test dummy called 'Starman' strapped into the driver's seat.
"The imagery of it is something that's going to get people excited around the world." says Elon Musk, a guy who literally revolutionized the area of space travel having developed and successfully tested first reusable rockets in the aerospace history, opening new horizons for cosmos explorations.
While advances in aeronautics are making news headlines daily, a much quieter scientific revolution is also happening in the area of “chemical space” explorations -- the one which might soon uncover novel medicines to cure diseases.
Effective drug discovery begins with the right assay, but the definition of "right" will shift as technology advances. More often than not, "right" is the product of tribal knowledge, namely the traditions of one's close peer group, study lineage and corporate culture. Instead, the right assay should be a fit-for-purpose application born of a broader, continuously updated, and unbiased consensus. As Steve Hamilton, aka The Lab Man, at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) has often stated in his blog posts, "developing assays – properly – is the cornerstone for life sciences R&D."
Choosing the right biological target or a combination of targets is a fundamental task for any successful drug discovery project. All the subsequent efforts -- be it a small molecule hit identification, lead optimization, pharmacokinetic studies, or a clinical trial -- will just be as effective, at the end of the day, as was the initial decision to choose one target or another.