Life of a drug in industry

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Life of a drug in industry

Postby Kevin Foley » Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:55 am

The typical grad student or postdoc in academia doesn't have a very good understanding of how drugs are developed in industry, largely because in most academic centers they have relatively little chance to interact with industry scientists. Not surprisingly, the most common question I get asked at conferences is: “What is it like in industry?”

The following article might therefore be of interest to some of you. It tracks the lifecycle of a particular drug (Velcade/bortezomib, a breakthrough treatment for multiple myeloma, approved in 2003) from the earliest days of academic research through its ultimate FDA approval in record time. It also illustrates the value of the free exchange of ideas and materials between academia and industry, which is often hindered due to a poor understanding of each side’s goals and challenges.

Success in translational research: lessons from the development of bortezomib
Ibis Sánchez-Serrano

The high price of many innovative drugs, which is in part due to the considerable expense and risk involved in drug development, underlines the need for more efficient approaches to bring drugs to the market, with more effective translational research in particular identified as an important part of such strategies. Here, the development of the cancer drug bortezomib (Velcade; Millennium Pharmaceuticals) by a biotechnology company — Myogenics/ProScript — started by academics from Harvard University is discussed to dissect the key academia–industry/public sector–private sector interactions that made the development of this drug a success despite many barriers. A model to explain how and why bortezomib was approved in record time is presented, and areas for public-policy initiatives to improve translational research in general are highlighted.

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 5:107-114, 2006 (should be in your University’s library)

Kevin Foley
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