Huge database helps psych drug development

Despite daily biotech discoveries, the deciphering of the human genome and huge strides in knowledge about the way brain works, new psychiatric drugs have been slow to enter the market, according to an international consortium of scientists. Last year, the Innovative Medicines Initiative set up what they call one of the largest ever research academic-industry collaboration projects to find new methods for the development of drugs for schizophrenia and depression. Called NEWMEDS (Novel Methods leading to NeW MEdications in Depression and Schizophrenia), the consortium says it now has "the single largest database of clinical trial data ever amassed in psychiatric research," according to a report in PharmaTimes.

The database comes from seven academic research institutions, nine major pharmaceutical companies and three small and medium-sized enterprises. The companies pool resources to bring together data of 23,401 patients from 67 trials on 11 compounds in over 25 countries, PharmaTimes reports.

One problem they're trying to overcome is too much competition and proprietary information among companies stifles the free exchange of ideas and impedes progress. Bottlenecks also include: "lack of accurate animal models to guide drug discovery, lack of tools and tests in healthy volunteers that can provide early indication of efficacy and reliance on a clinical trial methodology that has remained rather unchanged for 50 years."

- see the report in PharmaTimes
- and check out NEWMEDS, along with a short film