A challenge in drug discovery is that, at best, only around one in five drug candidates will lead to the launch of a medicine.
Pharmacogenomics offers the opportunity to adopt a new paradigm in drug development. The pharmaceutical industry is faced with a number of challenges including relatively low productivity and success in bringing new drugs to market.
Advances in science and technology are enabling us to understand physiology and pathology at a totally new level; to define, subtype and track diseases much more accurately; and to treat patients far more effectively, using novel delivery mechanisms and devices.
If we have learned anything from scientific research in the last 20 years, it is that finding cures to complex diseases is difficult. Despite the promise of the genomic revolution, disease progression and patient outcomes are still not easily predicted by genetic factors alone.
It is now readily accepted that we are in a post genomic era. With the steady flow of genomic information available to researchers worldwide, the focus turns to ways to analyse this information effectively and then utilise it in a practical manner.
Pharmaceutical research and development is changing. The old model of drug discovery, based on a combination of imprecise candidate generation and broad physiological screens, has given way to more specific and intelligent approaches to target identification and drug design.
Within the next 10 years the benefits of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics will inevitably outweigh the disadvantages. But what are the commercial and legal implications for the pharmaceutical industry especially for companies who have lead candidates ready to enter development?
Currently available drugs only target around 500 different proteins (4). Recent reports from efforts to sequence the human genome suggest there are tens of thousands of genes (1,2) and many more different proteins.
Adverse drug responses are an important post-marketing public health issue, occurring many times in subsets of treatment populations. Promising new approaches to predicting physiological responses to drugs are focused on genomic responses or toxicogenomics (1).
The sequencing of the human genome represents one of the most significant scientific advances of the 20th century that will shape the foundation of medical research well into the 21st.
HTS has been in place for approximately 10-12 years and has achieved a threeorder of magnitude scale up. Genomics has been in a 'high throughput' mode for approximately four years for areas such as genotyping, is an emerging field governed by sporadic technology leaps and data generation leaps.
With the high number of sufferers from skin disease around the world, it is astonishing that there are relatively few treatments available and that many of these only serve to relieve symptoms. Can drug development based on a functional genomics approach be the answer in bringing new products to this 'Cinderella' market?
The international structural genomics effort has resulted in a number of technological advancements that are accelerating the process of threedimensional structure determination while continually decreasing the cost per structure.
The rapid growth in proteomic and structural and functional genomic research is driving demand for purified proteins that far exceeds the industry's ability to scale-up conventional protein production technologies.