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'Big pharma' is not necessarily the most successful

By Tim Sandle     Oct 26, 2013 in Business
The size of a company and its economic resources is not tied to getting a drug to market, according to a new report. The success of small companies sometimes challenges the might of "big pharma."
A new analysis of 842 drug molecules published in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery suggests that the size of a pharmaceutical company — in particular, how much money it spends on research and development — is no predictor of whether a trial drug makes it out of the laboratory and into the pharmacy as a product for hospital or consumers to use.
Much drug discovery is geared around building up chemical libraries of synthetic small molecules, natural products or extracts. These are screened for intact cells or whole organisms to identify substances that have a desirable therapeutic effect. This process is known as pharmacology.
The report also highlights some other factors which seem to make little difference as to whether a med will be a success. These include: the location of the company; the therapeutic area (such as musculoskeletal, respiratory, and so on); and the type of drug target.
What actually matters, the report argues and perhaps unsurprising to many, is scientific acumen or good judgment. A related feature is knowing when to abandon some research and switch resources into a different area.
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