Drug Development: From Concept to Marketing!
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Drug development is an expensive, long and high-risk business taking 10-15 years and is associated with a high attrition rate. It is driven by medical need, disease prevalence and the likelihood of success. Drug candidate selection is an iterative process between chemistry and biology, refining the molecular properties until a compound suitable for advancing to man is found. Typically, about one in a thousand synthesised compounds is ever selected for progression to the clinic. Prior to administration to humans, the pharmacology and biochemistry of the drug is established using an extensive range of in vitro and in vivo test procedures. It is also a regulatory requirement that the drug is administered to animals to assess its safety. Later-stage animal testing is also required to assess carcinogenicity and effects on the reproductive system. Clinical phases of drug development include phase I in healthy volunteers to assess primarily pharmacokinetics, safety and toleration, phase II in a cohort of patients with the target disease to establish efficacy and dose-response relationship and large-scale phase III studies to confirm safety and efficacy. Experience tells us that approximately only 1 in 10 drugs that start the clinical phase will make it to the market. Each drug must demonstrate safety and efficacy in the intended patient population and its benefits must outweigh its risks before it will be approved by the regulatory agencies. Strict regulatory standards govern the conduct of pre-clinical and clinical trials as well as the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products. The assessment of the new medicinal product's safety continues beyond the initial drug approval through post-marketing monitoring of adverse events.
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