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Business of drug development on verge of great change
Date:4/1/2008

Significant changes to drug discovery and the pharmaceutical industry currently underway will increase in the next five to 10 years, according to a top researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who is helping transform the business of drug research and development.

According to Christopher Austin, M.D., director of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), both industry and academia welcome more cooperation in drug discovery to secure more efficient results for less financial burden than if they operate independently. The increased participation of the public sector in therapeutics development is a trend that will be good for industry, academia, scientific discovery and the public at large, says Dr. Austin.

These collaborative efforts have been facilitated by researchers moving from industry to academia to help close the gap that exists between basic early stage research and the identification of viable drug candidates for a range of diseases, particularly those that are less prevalent or for which the targets are less well validated. The hope is that better drugs to treat more diseases will be developed faster and less expensively than ever before.

Not only is Dr. Austin a scientist who wants his work to improve the lives of people affected by disease, he also is a former pharmaceutical industry researcher who understands the business of drug development, having previously worked at Merck & Co. for a number of years. Hes observed that industry scientists are constrained in the scope of targets and diseases they study by commercial regulations imperatives which do not exist in the public sector. The work we do at the NCGC is complementary to what industry does we work on the 90% of new targets and diseases that industry doesnt, and we make our data publicly available so all researchers, public and private, can use it to advance drug discovery.

Marcie Glicksman, Ph.D., senior director of lead discovery, lab
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Contact: Jennifer Bender
jbender@environics-usa.com
203-325-8772 x18
Society for Biomolecular Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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