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By : Sumit Bansal, Product Development Manager, Novartis
Industry : Pharmaceuticals Functional Area : R&D
Activity:  3 comments  1191 views  last activity : 07 06 2010 20:18:04 +0000
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Well people here are a few things that initiate the development of a new drug. This I have learned from my experience in the pharmaceutical industry over the years.


New drugs begin in the laboratory with chemists, scientists and pharmacologists who identify cellular and genetic factors that play a role in specific diseases. They search for chemical and biological substances that target these biological markers and are likely to have drug-like effects. Out of every 5,000 new compounds identified during the discovery process, only five are considered safe for testing in human volunteers after preclinical evaluations. After three to six years of further clinical testing in patients, only one of these compounds is ultimately approved as a marketed drug for treatment. The following sequence of research activities begins the process that results in development of new medicines:


  • Target identification. Drugs usually act on either cellular or genetic chemicals in the body, known as targets, which are believed to be associated with disease. Scientists use a variety of techniques to identify and isolate a target and learn more about its functions and how these influence disease. Compounds are then identified that have various interactions with drug targets helpful in treatment of a specific disease.

  • Target prioritization/validation. To select targets most likely to be useful in the development of new treatments for disease, researchers analyze and compare each drug target to others based on their association with a specific disease and their ability to regulate biological and chemical compounds in the body. Tests are conducted to confirm that interactions with the drug target are associated with a desired change in the behavior of diseased cells. Research scientists can then identify compounds that have an effect on the target selected.

  • Lead identification. A lead compound or substance is one that is believed to have potential to treat disease. Laboratory scientists can compare known substances with new compounds to determine their likelihood of success. Leads are sometimes developed as collections, or libraries, of individual molecules that possess properties needed in a new drug. Testing is then done on each of these molecules to confirm its effect on the drug target.

  • Lead optimization. Lead optimization compares the properties of various lead compounds and provides information to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies select the compound or compounds with the greatest potential to be developed into safe and effective medicines. Often during this same stage of development, lead prioritization studies are conducted in living organisms and in cells in the test tube to compare various lead compounds and how they are metabolized and affect the body.


These are the few things that we follow while going in for a new drug. 

3 comments on "How to Discover a new drug?"
  Commented by  BEENA AGARWAL, Head/VP/GM-Corporate Planning/Strategy, ANADI HI TECH AGRO PVT LTD    | 06 03 2009 09:29:59 +0000
Nice basic for drug discovery .These are basics which all pharma industries have to follow befre prducing new drug.Thanks Mr bansal.Nice share
  Commented by  Bindu Narayan, Product Development Manager, Care Biomedicals    | 05 05 2009 10:39:39 +0000
Great insight. 
Here many people have the question regarding drug discovery. I hope this will answer their questions to some extent as this article gives a over view of drug discovery process.  
  Commented by  varsha mishra, technical Manager(QMS), rfrac    | 10 08 2008 19:36:59 +0000
few points still left

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