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{bio,medical} informatics

Friday, May 10, 2002

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find related articles. powered by google. Red Herring New strategies for the post-genomic era

"A detective is called in one morning to his captain's office and is informed that he must locate a dangerous felon living in Manhattan. The captain tells the detective, "It should be no problem locating him, we have a phone book!"

With the February 2001 completion of the first rough draft of the human genome, a similar scenario could unfold in biotech: a venture capitalist provides funds to an upstart biotech firm attempting to identify novel disease-causing genes and tells its chief scientific officer, "It shouldn't be that hard, you have access to the human genome database.""

redux [04.19.02]
find related articles. powered by google. The New York Times Despite Billions for Discoveries, Pipeline of Drugs Is Far From Full
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"This should be the golden age for pharmaceutical scientists. The deciphering of the human genome is laying bare the blueprint of human life. Medical research has increased understanding of disease. Robots and computers are turning drug discovery from a mixing of chemicals in a test tube to an industrialized, automated process."

"Instead of narrowing the list of compounds that might be useful in drugs, automation has broadened it — greatly increasing the number of formulas tested without yet delivering commensurate growth in safe and effective drugs."

redux [12.14.01]
find related articles. powered by google. GenomeWeb Big Pharma, On the Ropes, Says it Knows What it Wants from Genomics. But Will That Spur a Turnaround?

"And although the drug industry remains the most profitable worldwide—it generated profits as a percentage of revenues four times the median rate for all Fortune 500 firms during the end of the last decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released that day—an editorial in this month’s Nature Biotechnology by David Horrobin, CEO of Laxdale Research, in Stirling, Scotland, had this to say: “With rare exceptions, most of the top 20 multinational pharmaceutical companies are not generating in-house the new products needed to sustain the rates of growth they have enjoyed in the past.

“No serious industry onlooker could dispute this depressing picture,” the commentary continues. “Although a few pharmaceutical companies may survive in their present form, most cannot…. A few brave companies are recognizing the obvious: large companies excel at sales and marketing but are hopeless at innovative research.”"

redux [05.26.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Drug Discovery Online Where Next for Genomics?

"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.”"

find related articles. powered by google. 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.""

redux [11.29.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The Scientist A Flood in Genomics
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"Glenn Giovanetti at Ernst & Young Life Sciences Industry Services, comments "You could really compare [today's situation] to a large degree with the first biotech boom in the late eighties and early nineties where the thought was, 'Hey, this is going to lead to better drugs faster,' and clearly that hasn't been the case." Having the genome in hand has brought about more drug targets, but, explains Ma, "People are getting more concerned that novel targets are going to have a higher rate of failures because there is less information on them." And when working in 10-year drug-development cycles, failures are costly.

Ma points to a trend of growth in clinical informatics that would effectively garner more information from expensive clinical trials instead of simply treating them as regulatory hurdles. "People are beginning to think through to how ... to take greater advantage of that information," he adds. But increasingly, the suppliers of genomic information have been looking to do the same thing.

[ 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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