What a time to be involved in drug discovery. While COVID-19 has of course created unprecedented conditions on a global scale, it has also highlighted the extent to which this sector offers depth of knowledge, skill and innovation. It is a pleasure to learn more about the market – both COVID and non-COVID – and there are clear stand-out factors which explain why this industry is a global success.
Turning science into business
DDW focusses on turning science into business. This mindset comes naturally to the sector, keeping expertise at the heart of the process. Whether this expertise is found within one, two or more companies, it doesn’t matter – where it is lacking, it will be found, and where it exists, it will be shared.
Collaboration is a fundamental aspect of the drug discovery and development sector’s ability to succeed – and it’s a lesson from which many industries could learn, although arguably none would have as significant an impact on the lives of the global population as this one does. Taking COVID-19 as an example, the global effort to find vaccine candidates and treatments for the virus has been just that – global. Pre-worldwide lockdowns, thanks to the work of Chinese and Australian researchers, the virus’ first genome and its genetic map was released. Without this information the quest for the vaccine would not be possible. Working as one has huge implications. Not only does it potentially speed up the rate at which therapeutics and vaccines are created, but it also creates eventual parity between societies, countries and continents. Collaboration puts the world on an equal footing when we seek to eradicate disease and protect against pandemics proving that we are stronger working as a team.
A connected world
COVID-19 has shown us how connected we are as a world. The pandemic that began in one area of the world, very quickly became a global issue. The fast pace of transmission that this virus has exhibited highlights how close we get to one another. But as the drug discovery community has shown – this can be a positive. Thanks to AI and data sharing, combining expertise has become easier than ever. Fast-tracking the process, technology creates efficiencies of time and resources, which of course, we all want. Technology and the willingness of this sector to share data equals successful drug repurposing happening at speed. Technology has the potential to reduce the number of clinical development failures, and can help identify novel candidates and de novo drug synthesis. Most importantly, it adds to our ability to share and collaborate.
A generation ago fighting the pandemic would have been a very different game but thanks to these tools and the willingness of the sector to embrace them and share knowledge, we are making in-roads into tackling COVID-19 as one.
Volume 21, Issue 4 – Fall 2020
Image: Tim Mossholder