Future of Drug Discovery: Why are Eastern European Destinations so appealing?

Published: 18 Mar 2008

By Dr. Laleh Safinia, Research Analyst, Drug Discovery Technologies
Email: laleh.safinia@frost.com

The current estimates place the cost to develop a drug from concept to market at more than $800 million with a rise to as much as $1.7 billion when taking into account pre-launch marketing costs, with a total time period of up to 15 years. The speed at which drug development is expected to bring novel drug targets to the market is challenging not only for small start-up companies but also for large, well-established firms. Issues like unavailability of analytical methods, reagents, relevant animal models, experienced staff and adequate funding, quality of data, regulatory pathway and the management team are all factors contributing to the delay of novel therapies. Pharmaceutical companies are continually looking for new cost effective strategies to gain better information about drug candidates, their ability to bind a target, the results of those interactions, and off-target effects as early as possible in lead discovery and lead optimisation. The continual pressure to reduce costs and increase productivity has been a strong driving force in many of the strategies adopted by pharmaceutical companies in seeking the optimum routes to increase their efficiencies and output.

Strategies ranging from mergers and acquisitions to in-licensing, outsourcing and the employment of state-of-the-art technologies are some of the approached adopted by pharmaceutical companies. The overriding aim of the current drug companies is to be successful in increasing the number of investigational new drug candidates or new chemical entities per year by shortening drug development times and realising unpromising drugs early in the drug discovery cycle.

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