Technological advances in pharmaceutical development, improve the speed, performance, cost and results of research efforts.
The continuing evolution of new technologies, such as 3-D biological printing, ultra-high-resolution analytical instruments, next-generation sequencing, desktop electron microscopy, gene therapy, translational research, stem cell therapies and microbiomics are changing the traditional rules for drug development, as well as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) changing its own rules. These changes are happening at the right time as new drug development challenges are simultaneously appearing, which include increasing antibiotic resistance, the Ebola epidemic in Africa, aging global populations, the reappearance of tuberculosis and more.
According to research by Advantage Business Media, the greatest advances in drug development over the next several years will be in the treatment of cancer (71% of survey responses), followed by diabetes (38%) and neurological diseases (34%). Cancer is also considered to be the most challenging area of drug development research (59%), followed by neurological diseases (39%) and genetic diseases (35%). The technological areas most associated with advances in drug development over the past 10 years have been molecular biology (93%), genomics (91%) and genetic animal models (88%).
The rapidly changing face of drug development, as well as the technologies involved in the research, creates an environment that will only accelerate in the next several years. And, the rapid globalization of the drug development environment, as noted in the examples below, will serve to alter that technological “face.”
3-D printing (also called additive manufacturing or AM) has taken the entire technological world by storm, with researchers creating new capabilities, new materials and new applications on almost a daily basis. While these efforts are broad, they have included advances in the biopharmaceutical and drug development industries, much of it being carried out in academia.