Harvard project takes aim at improving drug development odds

For all the much-vaunted scientific effort that goes into drug development, biotech companies and their scientific teams are often shining a light on only one narrow cellular target. Often a new drug intended to treat one thing triggers a cascade of events that can damage patients more than they help, which is one reason why so many developers are blindsided by unexpected events. In order for drug developers to pull back a little and shine a light on a much broader area of the complex biology involved in drug development and disease, Harvard is drawing together investigators from a range of disciplines--including math, physics and computer sciences--in a new coalition on systems pharmacology which is being heralded as a unique effort aimed at nothing less than revolutionizing the development of new drugs and overcoming the poor productivity rate that has plagued the industry. Report