Discovering and bringing one new drug to the public typically costs a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company from £800 million to more than £1 billion and takes an average of 10 to 15 years. The drug discovery and development process is designed to ensure that only those pharmaceutical products that are both safe and effective are brought to market. PPD provides a broad array of drug discovery and development services and products to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies to expedite drug development, from drug discovery through clinical studies and post-approval support.
New drugs begin in the laboratory with scientists, including chemists and pharmacologists, who identify cellular and genetic factors that play a role in specific diseases. They search for chemical and biological substances that target ...view middle of the document...
Drugs usually act on either cellular or genetic chemicals in the body, known as targets, which are believed to be associated with disease. Scientists use a variety of techniques to identify and isolate individual targets to learn more about their functions and how they influence disease. Compounds are then identified that have various interactions with the drug targets that might be helpful in treatment of a specific disease.
•Target Prioritization/Validation. To select targets most likely to be useful in the development of new treatments for disease, researchers analyze and compare each drug target to others based on their association with a specific disease and their ability to regulate biological and chemical compounds in the body. Tests are conducted to confirm that interactions with the drug target are associated with a desired change in the behaviour of diseased cells. Research scientists can then identify compounds that have an effect on the target selected.
•Lead Identification. A lead compound or substance is one that is believed to have potential to treat disease. Laboratory scientists can compare known substances with new compounds to determine their likelihood of success. Leads are sometimes developed as collections, or libraries, of individual molecules that possess properties needed in a new drug. Testing is then done on each of these molecules to confirm its effect on the drug target.
•Lead Optimization. Lead optimization compares the properties of various lead compounds and provides information to help biopharmaceutical companies select the compound or compounds with the greatest potential to be developed into safe and effective medicines. Often during this same stage of development, lead prioritization studies are conducted in living organisms (in vivo) and in cells in the test tube (in vitro) to compare various lead compounds and how they are metabolized and affect the body.