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Friday, May 26, 2000

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Drug Discovery Online Where Next for Genomics?
"First came germ theory with antibiotics. Then came replacement theory with insulin and growth factors. Now the paradigm for drug development has shifted once again: We have entered the era of genomics-based medicine.

In less than a decade a new genomics industry has taken hold. Gemomics companies now ferret through miles of genetic code to identify the genetic causes of disease, select potential target genes, and help big pharma find the next blockbuster.

But the face of genomics—or at least its role in drug discovery—is about to change, due largely to its own success. “We’re knee deep in potential targets,” says Nicholas Dracopoli, executive director of pharmacogenomics with Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Prioritising the targets is the rate limiting step.”"

"Leaders in the genomics field, as in any other industry, will be companies that offer a value-added service. Large pharmaceutical companies agree on what that service should be: integration of all the genomics information available. With more information readily accessible, companies can easily decide on whether to continue investigating potential targets.

So the future of genomics companies may rest in their IT and software capabilities, a view held by Celera Genomics, a newcomer to genomics. “We are entering an era of ‘cyberpharmaceutical’ drug development,” says Samual Broder, executive VP and chief medical officer. “Pharmaceutical corporations will use genomic databases, and other relational databases involving gene expression, proteomics etc. as the foundation of their drug discovery pipelines. One of the immediate goals... is to produce appropriate databases and software to link biologic and genomic information.” "

Medscape Conference Report : Genomics and Proteomics in Drug Discovery and Development
[requires 'free' registration]
"As efforts to sequence the human genome are nearing completion, there is an increased interest in the application of genomic and proteomic approaches to aid in the discovery, development, and rational use of drugs. Much of this effort is focused on understanding the significance of genetic variation in drug-response genes in determining drug efficacy and toxicity. In parallel, biologists and computer scientists are teaming up to develop global technologies that will allow us to decipher the complex nature of physiological and pathophysiological functions. The impact of genomics and proteomics on the pharmaceutical sciences is yet to be fully realized but will no doubt enhance the traditional approaches to drug discovery, development, and rational use."

Biospace Biotech Productivity: Myth or Method?
""The data suggest that the biotechnology industry used to be more productive than Big Pharma, but not any longer," said Rebecca Henderson, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management whose been studying the question for six years. "The public biotechs have declining productivity… and look as if they are running into the same problems as Big Pharma."

On every metric that Henderson has studied---number of scientific papers and patents per R&D dollar, cost per new drug--she found that biotech and Pharma productivity were quickly converging, and both were getting worse. After spending six years of studying the question, Henderson says she has found "no systematic evidence that small firms are more productive.""

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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