On November 4th, 2015, CDD hosted a live webinar where thought leaders discussed the challenges of modern drug discovery. For those who could not attend, we invite you to review this summary and follow these links to the webinar recordings.
- Retrospective analysis can be useful for limited domains, yet lessons are often not general enough for application to very different cases (compounds, targets, therapeutic areas).
- The divide between experimental and computational scientists is narrowing as each side learns more about the strengths, scope, and limitations of the other discipline. Software can further narrow the divide.
- Delays exist between technology breakthroughs and their impact on human health. This is due to our limited understanding of biology, life, and disease.
Relative rates of change in biology, chemistry and software:
- Rapid paradigm shifting changes in understanding biology tools: CRISPR, Gene data, RNAi, PCR
- Occasional paradigm shifting changes in understanding chemistry tools: parallel synthesis, Fragment based design, MIDA Boronate automated synthesis
- Most rapid changes in software and web development due to network effects, open source libraries, and easy integration and aggregation of code, relative to rate manipulating physical matter: Moore’s law, Melcalf’s law
- All suggest software provides a very high bang-per-buck: even though an experimentalist’s bias is for investing more in experiments, when software matters, it matters disproportionately relative to the money invested.
Panelists’ responses to great audience questions:
- Q: How do you see the role of Project Managers in this lean Drug Discovery team format? Is it sufficient to only manage or is it better to have them involved in early stage planning?
- A: The theory of the lean approach is to be efficient, yet innovative. For project managers, there may be more applications for optimization of processes than for exploratory research. One of the fundamental roles of the project manager is to ensure that the project is defined properly at its earliest stages so that successful execution of the project plan results in a superior outcome. While all projects require adjustment and occasional pivoting at some point, the more effort and expertise that is applied early on, the stronger the substance and buy-in will be to the original plan.
- Q: Would you please comment on using CROs for the drug discovery process? Advantages and disadvantages?
- A: The advantages of working with others are getting access to complementary expertise, advanced technologies, and/or additional capacity without having to internally invest in the capital, human resources and time required to get results. The disadvantages are extra management overhead and less control and visibility over some elements of the process. These challenges can be minimized by developing strong relationships with CROs and employing communication systems [like CDD Vault] that facilitate seamless experimental information exchange and foster cross-team collaboration. The broad emergence of VC funded, virtual drug discovery companies that work exclusively using CRO’s attests to their value in today’s market.
- Q: How do you think about computational drug repositioning?
- A: Repositioning is an efficient means to leverage the substantial investments already made in drug discovery. It’s a recycling of sorts, and many drug assets show their true value once re-examined with newer technologies or for new purposes. The growing amount of public and proprietary screening data on drug-like molecules, and the ADME, pharmacogenomics and toxicogenomics data on existing drugs and parked drug assets is approaching the critical mass needed to more accurately glean the probability of a new therapeutic effect. The data, computational power, and storage are now available. Software systems like CDD Vault permit the aggregation and computational analysis of these disparate data sets. For human health, drug re-positioning is extremely useful, and the time is ripe for computational (and experimental) drug re-positioning. With creativity, there are significant economic opportunities for drug repositioning.
Link to the webinar recordings:
- Click below to view Part 1 of the webinar recording:
- Click below to view Part 2 of the webinar recording:
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!
CDD Vault: Drug Discovery Informatics your whole project team will embrace!