3 Ways Enhancing Collaboration Can Hasten Drug Discovery
December 18, 2018
Drug discovery is tough.
Only about 5 in 5,000 drug candidates that enter preclinical testing move to human testing. From there, only 1 in 10 drugs tested in humans get to the market.
This whole process is daunting and it takes, on average, 10-12 years for an experimental drug to come to market. Over that time, it costs an average of $2.6 billion to bring a single drug to market.
Those who work in drug discovery face a long and arduous road.
One of the reasons why the drug discovery process is so long and difficult is that it requires the collaboration of many people from a variety of different scientific disciplines.
Many, many hands will touch a drug before it becomes a marketable product. This introduces places for error and for delay.
Given the highly competitive and expensive landscape of drug discovery, the objective — producing a marketable drug — needs to be achieved as quickly and efficiently as possible. Smooth, clear, and easy collaboration is essential.
Drug discovery project teams are constantly making decisions. Which new compounds to synthesize? Which compounds to advance to later stage assays? Which compounds to scale up for resource-intensive in vivo assays? The list goes on.
The only way that researchers, at all the different stages of development, can make high-quality decisions, is to have easy access to high-quality information.
If a team does not have access to all validated data when making such decisions — or even worse, is basing those decisions on incorrect, invalid or outdated data — often a poor decision leads to wasted resources and lost opportunities. This is a failure in communication and collaboration.
Experienced project teams know the importance of setting up a formal project database from the early stages to support decision-making and create a place for true collaboration.
But, how can researchers ensure they have a secure project database and how can they use that resource to quicken the drug discovery process?
Here are 3 ways that a formal project database, such as the CDD Vault, will ease the drug discovery process by promoting great collaboration…
Formal platforms make sharing data very easy
Sharing of data across disciplines is essential.
Multi-disciplinary project teams risk losing efficiency when disciplines have difficulty talking to each other and keeping each other informed of the latest results.
CDD Vault improves the efficiency and productivity of such teams by providing discipline-specific capabilities within a unified front-end to facilitate the appropriate sharing of data across domains.
The CDD Vault provides a true cross-domain platform for storage, analysis, and sharing of drug discovery data.
Because chemists and biologists use the same system, greater collaboration is possible, and data harmonization and reformatting steps are no longer necessary.
On the chemical side, it handles chemical compound registration, complex chemical structures, and property data acquisition and reporting, structure searching, structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis, and more.
On the biological side, it handles assay registration and data management, biological data refinement and analysis, and other functions as required by an evolving biological paradigm.
It also handles sample spectra, numerous graphical representations of chemical and biological data, and other images.
For the project manager, it handles multitier access to data and follow-up.
This collaborative environment helps the various disciplines to think of themselves as members of a productive discovery team, rather than an isolated entity.
And remember, an efficient collaboration not only saves time and money — it can mean the difference between project success and failure, and between being first-to-file for a patent and being scooped!
You can remove the problems created by ad-hoc data-handling systems.
Homegrown project database solutions usually lack usability.
General-purpose data handling software, such as Excel spreadsheets or relational databases (Access, MySql, Oracle), require significant programming to meet the project team needs, which is a skill that many scientists don’t have.
Therefore, the database ends up either not being used at all, or being used sparingly — causing the data within it to be outdated.
Procedures may exist to periodically upload data into the database — however, if the database is not easy for the scientists to use, they will view uploading their data as a time-consuming chore and may not be diligent about doing so.
CDD Vault overcomes these difficulties by meeting most project scientists’ needs quickly without the need for IT specialists or additional hardware.
While many legacy laboratory systems require IT specialists to change data fields or formats, CDD Vault has forms that are easily changed by a scientist-administrator.
And, the CDD Vault API (Applications Programmer Interface) allows other, project-specific functions, to be easily added by a knowledgeable scientist, by in-house IT staff, or by CDD’s consultants.
When working with a diverse team, having a place where data can be easily uploaded and accessed is very important.
Feel confident in your data's security.
The security of your data is paramount in drug discovery.
All of the hard work that researchers have put in to create high-quality drug leads needs to be protected. Additionally, the level of access that collaborators have on a project might vary.
How can you handle issues like this when you are just using a manually created database, such as Excel, to manage your data?
This leads to insecurity about how the data is being handled and causes your collaborators to be hesitant about sharing data that is needed to make high-quality decisions.
Confidence in data security really does permit the necessary external collaborations that occur throughout the drug discovery process.
In this era of virtual project teams and extensive collaborations, you can look to CDD Vault as a secure repository for all your distributed data.
Large pharma companies have also used CDD Vault in this way to improve security when outside collaborators have access to their in-house data.
With multiple laboratories using the same CDD Vault project database, sharing of data controlled by data type and by user becomes streamlined, and as a result, prompt and secure communication among project members is assured.
You can securely share specific data with those who need it and not worry about compromising the security of other data that you do not want shared.
By removing the worry of security, multi-team collaborations can proceed with openness and trust.
This mentality will encourage the sharing of data as soon as it is available, and project managers can make highly informed decisions quickly.
Drug discovery is an increasingly collaborative endeavor. The more easily multi-site and multi-discipline teams can work together, the faster and more productive the drug discovery process will be. Having a formal drug discovery platform makes increased and easy collaboration possible because formal platforms make sharing data very easy, you can remove the problems created by ad-hoc data handling systems, and collaborators feel confident in the security of the data.
This blog is authored by members of the CDD Vault community. CDD Vault is a hosted drug discovery informatics platform that securely manages both private and external biological and chemical data. It provides core functionality including chemical registration, structure activity relationship, chemical inventory, and electronic lab notebook capabilities.