Here are some recent trends that we are seeing within the drug development sector that are set to make a difference:
1. Cloud computing.
Cloud computing is allowing for faster collection of data across the globe. A large part of testing whether a drug is effective happens during the live trial stage. Some trials span many countries and over thousands of patients. Making the data collection process a complicated affair. First, cloud computing provides an efficient way to find patients who could benefit from clinical trials. Second, information that is collected and stored in the cloud streamlines data analysis. While it previously could take up to a year before studies could draw conclusive data, now it takes between one to two weeks. Data can also be mined from a wider array of sources, such as wearable health devices and electronic health diaries. All these aspects go far to help bridge partners working together within the drug development sector.
2. Artificial intelligence driven drug discovery.
Innovative drug makers are looking to tech companies with a strong AI background to help them more effectively create and test new drugs. Developing new drugs and bringing them to a market-ready state can take up to over a decade of research and clinical study. In Tokyo, a consortium of drug companies have combined their efforts to receive government funding. Over 100 researchers from the various companies are set to work together alongside select IT companies. The aim is to develop a program that will be able to select and discard potentially harmful compounds in advance of clinical trials.
There are, of course, other applications of AI and Big Data in healthcare, not limited to drug discovery. We are seeing an increasing number of AI companies that are using their algorithms to provide patient risk scoring to providers. Oncology is another field that is benefiting from AI. With companies collecting blood samples from at-risk individuals to see if early detection is possible.
3. Expanding cancer drug development.
Today, more drugs are in development to combat cancer than any other drugs targeting other focuses. According to a Biopharm Insight Report for 2016, 718 clinical trials were cancer related. This was a 14 percent increase from the number calculated in 2015. With 500 companies working in the field of oncology, the pipeline of cancer drugs has seen a 60 percent growth in the last 10 years. At present, the 10 largest sellers of cancer drugs have 130 potential candidates in final stages of testing.
Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide, and 1 in 3 individuals will be diagnosed with cancer at some point. So it is no wonder it has a prominent place in drug research.
Other trends in cancer drugs include...
· More drugs available in oral form versus injectable form.
· Cancer drugs are expensive. However, drug manufacturers appear to be doing what they can to shoulder development costs. We have seen the number of coupons helping to pay for prescriptions being used to offset drug prices.
Ever stopped to consider how many times your own life has been saved by advances in medicine that were not available in the nineteenth century? Doing so makes one realize the importance of drug research and development. As always, when it comes to drug development, time and expense slows down the process of bringing new drugs to market. But with advances in technology, more innovative ways of drug development continue to expand as do treatment options.