Drug Discovery 2021: The time is now 

The Fall Issue of the Drug Discovery World Magazine is accompanied by an exclusive DDW & ELRIG UK supplement ahead of ELRIG UK’s Drug Discovery 2021 in Liverpool, October 19-20, 2021. DDW Editor Lu Rahman welcomes the event and introduces the themes.  

To say that I – as well as the entire DDW team – am excited about the upcoming ELRIG Drug Discovery event in Liverpool, is a huge understatement. Not only is it one of the first industry get-togethers since the pandemic started to take hold, but it’s also my first drug discovery event since taking the helm at DDW over a year ago.  

If we backtrack a few years, it would have been hard to imagine the Covid-19 experience and how our lives, and our sector, could change so dramatically. From hearing news reports about a deadly virus in China, to its spread across the globe, to lockdowns, travel bans and the then distant hope of a vaccine, it seems we have started to turn a corner and get a small slice of normality back. And to be part of the industry that has worked intently to make that normality a possibility, underlines the sense of occasion. There is definitely something special about not only reuniting as a sector but reuniting as the sector that is helping the world make its way out of the Covid-19 pandemic.   

The ELRIG event recognises this coming together and also the change that the industry has experienced during our period of separation and distance. The 2021 event will focus on re-connecting, re-inventing and re-imagining – themes that are undeniably pertinent as we take our first return steps. 

Re-connecting 

As an industry, we understand the value that regular face-to-face events bring. Collaboration is a key aspect of the drug discovery and development sector. Businesses realise the opportunity that can be created by pooling knowledge and sharing resources to get to market faster and more cost-effectively. It has been good to hear these stories continuing throughout the pandemic. While collaboration has survived social distancing, there is no doubt that we welcome the opportunity to pursue that in person. 

For me personally, ELRIG’s Drug Discovery event isn’t just about reconnecting but also connecting. Having met so many of you via my laptop, I’m hugely looking forward to meeting in person at last. 

Re-inventing 

Necessity is the mother of invention and throughout the pandemic we’ve realised it’s the mother of re-invention too. Finding new ways to live and work has been crucial. However, nowhere has re-invention been more critical than in the drug discovery sector. In the quest to find new therapeutics, repurpose existing therapeutics and find the holy grail that is the vaccine, the sector has sought ways to work smarter, more efficiently, and use technology to expedite the process.  

For me, perhaps the most significant example of re-invention has been the mRNA vaccine. Going from a somewhat forgotten technology to one of the front-runners in the fight against coronavirus, shows us what can be achieved when work out how to utilise tried and tested processes and technology in new ways.  

Re-imagining 

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us it’s that sometimes we need to see things differently. Ten years ago it would have been inconceivable to think we could take a vaccine from research to mass immunisation in the space of a year. The drug discovery sector has shown us that if we think differently, we can achieve things we might previously have considered impossible. Thinking in new ways helps us disrupt conventionality, helps us review how we use technology and helps us reconsider ways we can work better, smarter and faster. 

The DDW team will see you there! 

Volume 22, Issue 4 – Fall 2021 / ELRIG Drug Discovery 2021 supplement 

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