• Initiatives to Advance Drug Discovery

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Initiatives to Advance Drug Discovery

Jul 29 2021

From research grants to international consortiums, the drug discovery sector is driven by a variety of initiatives. Some are monetary based and rely on public and private funding, while others are designed to promote intercontinental collaboration or the development of global standards. Below, we spotlight some of the most transformative initiatives helping to advance drug discovery and improve healthcare around the world.

The role of CDMOs

Contract Development and Manufacturing Companies (CDMOs) are the backbone of the drug discovery sector. Once the core concept of a drug is pioneered by a pharmaceutical company, CDMOs step up to provide highly specialised drug development and manufacturing services. Some CDMOs specialise in vaccines while others may focus on cancer therapies and treatments.

Securing grants

Drug discovery and development is immensely expensive, and companies often depend on grants and investments to fund research. For example, French biotech company Calixar recently secured a US$1.2 million investment from public investment bank, Bpifrance. The funding will be used to develop complex therapeutic targets and allow Calixar to optimise its drug development model.

“We will offer pharma and biotech companies the possibility of saving time and money by entrusting us to develop their future targets,” says Calixar cofounder, Emmanuel Dejean.

Non-departmental body Innovate UK is a major distributor of grants, with the organisation naturally prioritising early drug discovery Covid-19 projects in 2020.

Setting and enforcing international standards

Are there international standards on handling of protein drugs to ensure their stability? Yes, drug discovery and development is often heavily reliant on international collaboration. This means international standards are key when it comes to manufacturing protein-based drugs such as monoclonal antibodies and insulin. The MEMO Research unit at the University of Dundee was recently awarded a £500,000 grant to take part in RealHOPE, a consortium designed to make protein drugs safer and more efficient.

How important are screening services?

Identifying candidates for trials is an important part of the drug discovery and development process. Richard Weaver, SVP of Pre-Clinical Development at Nottingham-based company Sygnature Discovery says “there is an increasing need for engaging the formulation scientist at an earlier stage and most importantly having constant and iterative dialogue with the DMPK, Pharmacology and Chemistry teams."

Find out more about the role of screening services and how they could help advance drug discovery and development research in ‘Can Screening Services Help Identify Drug Candidate Potential at Earlier Stages?'


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