Virtual Drug Discovery: Finding Service Providers
This is Part 3 in a four-part series in which Dr. Kevin Lustig and Dr. Maria Thompson explore a new paradigm for virtual drug discovery in a published series of articles on Pharmaphorum.
(Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 4).
In part three of our series on virtual drug discovery published in Pharmaphorum last month, Dr. Kevin Lustig and Dr. Maria Thompson discussed how outsourcing is key to reducing cost, and delivering more high quality compounds to the clinic in less time.
It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the pharmaceutical industry is currently suffering from quite a few problems. Over the last decade the number of new products hitting the market has dwindled, industry profits are down, and over 300,000 research jobs have been lost. Furthermore, between 2012 – 2016 the industry is facing a “patent cliff” with over 100 important products dropping off patent including 13 blockbuster drugs.
A simple solution
The solution is a deceptively simple idea, but complex to execute. If the industry can only start to deliver a steady stream of high quality compounds into the clinic, all of our other problems would fade away.
“If the industry can only start to deliver a steady stream of high quality compounds into the clinic, all of our other problems would fade away.”
But how to achieve that goal?
Many industry thought-leaders including luminaries such as Bernard Munos contend that one critical step is for the pharmaceutical industry to outsource more of its work to small nimble research organizations1. Replacing the high fixed cost of maintaining huge internal R&D capabilities with the lower variable cost of bringing in outside help when it’s needed on a project. Many pharmaceutical companies (including some of the very biggest) are already experimenting with this model; creating their own virtual drug discovery groups with a lean internal staff, and relying on outsourced service providers to do the bulk of the heavy lifting.