A group in the UK is touting a new approach to developing drugs that is intended to reduce development costs to a fraction of what the industry currently pays. Imperial College's Sunil Shaunak calls it "ethical pharmaceuticals:" scientists redesign the molecular structure of currently approved drugs, put them through the clinic in India as new entities and then apply for approval in Europe and the U.S. Quoted in The Guardian, Shaunak castigated the global drug industry for seeking big margins on monopoly products and sees this new approach as a way to break their grip on therapeutics. Don't expect big pharma to sit on the sidelines as developers push cheaper therapies onto the market, though. Molecular redesigns are likely to be challenged--strenuously--in court as drug makers move to protect patents.
- read the article on the development process from The Guardian
Where's the ROI on drug R&D budgets? Report
Is pharma's drug discovery model sustainable? Editorial