You are unwell, you see a doctor, and in some instances the doctor writes a prescription for a drug that is designed to help with your condition. But how exactly is that drug developed and how long did it take for the “final product”, that now sits neatly on the pharmacy shelf, to become available to patients?
In a recent interview with Technology Networks, Dr Tomasz Kostrzewski, Director of Biology at CN Bio talks us through the key steps involved in the development of a drug and discusses some of the challenges that arise during the process. Tom also touches on how drug discovery approaches have evolved over the years and highlights the trends we can expect to see in the future.
“Any new drug needs to start with an idea, this is the first phase of any new drug development [project], this is called the discovery phase,” says Kostrzewski. It is at this stage researchers look closely at the disease they want to treat. They search for specific protein targets, cellular processes and signaling pathways implicated in the disease, that they can potentially “disrupt” therapeutically.
There are several different screening strategies available to drug discovery researchers, which can be used to identify promising compounds or “hits”.
“Ultimately what you are trying to do, is to find a number of molecules that will “hit” or inhibit the target you care about, and this can then be taken forward.”
These “hits” are then taken forward and tested preclinically. “Preclinical testing involves testing the efficacy of a drug – does it actually have some benefit… does it treat disease, reduce symptoms?” explains Kostrzewski. If preclinical testing demonstrates favorable efficacy and safety for the compound, clinical development progresses.
Here more from Tomasz Kostrzewski in the video interview below.
Watch some of the other “Exploring Drug Discovery” episodes to learn more about the drug development process.
Visit our drug development hub page for a comprehensive overview of the steps involved when taking a drug from bench to bedside.