The cost involved in the discovery, manufacturing and marketing effective drugs has increased during the past few decades. More and more disease conditions are studied and research and development has become more competitive in Pharma industry. In addition to the cost, the safety and effectiveness of the industry has been tightly regulated by the federal agencies which obliges the industry to make safe drugs to tackle wide variety of disease conditions. Therefore the role of technology in providing a competitive edge in research and development is more important in today’s pharmaceutical sector.
Many of the drugs that have been approved are small molecule inhibitors of proteins that targets disease conditions. From the discovery to the development of an inhibitor, it takes 3 – 5 years of intensive research. The present high throughput technology has revolutionized the process of discovery. It involves design of high throughput assays that are capable of testing the potency of more than 50 inhibitors in a day. The kinetic parameters involved in the reaction are studied initially and based on this the protein of interest is reacted with its subsequent substrates along with the potential inhibitors. Assays are then read using radioactive, bio luminescence or chemical read-outs and the data is analyzed for each inhibitors. High throughput screening technology has significantly reduced the time involved in the early discovery of potent inhibitors and hence the cost.
Information technology has been another driving force in cutting the cost in the global pharmaceutical industry. In today’s industrial practices, it has become very imperative for the pharma companies to conduct clinical trials in many different countries. It enables them to maintain their competitive edge in the industry. Information technology could play a lead role in this in future. Due to the extensive clinical trials, today’s industry faces a huge cost involved in conducting such trails. Flow of information is one of the major hurdles. In future, all the sites will be remotely connected and the whole flow of the process will be controlled by one main site. In addition, this will also provide transparency to the federal agencies.