Drug Discovery Industry Roundup with Barry Bunin — July 15, 2022
Every Drug Trial Should End Like This “Astonishing” One. The New York Times carries an article headlined “A Cancer Trial’s Unexpected Result: Remission in Every Patient,” with participants reporting “happy tears.” The article begins: “It was a small trial, just 18 rectal cancer patients, every one of whom took the same drug. But the results were astonishing. The cancer vanished in every single patient, undetectable by physical exam, endoscopy, PET scans or M.R.I. scans. Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, an author of a paper published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the results, which were sponsored by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline, said he knew of no other study in which a treatment completely obliterated a cancer in every patient: ‘I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer.’”
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Drug Discovery Notes: Oh Nuts! Forgot to Check the Cashew Shells. We’ve all heard that cashews are good for you, but Drug Discovery News carries an article headlined “New Drugs for Metabolic Diseases Could Come from Food Waste,” focusing on the nut shell liquid of cashews, normally discarded as a waste product during harvesting. The article explains: “Researchers reported in a new study that molecules from lipid-rich cashew nut-shell liquid target nuclear receptors, specifically peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), to regulate lipid metabolism and maintain glucose homeostasis. For those who suffer from metabolic diseases such as obesity or diabetes, these molecules may offer new, sustainably-sourced treatment options.” Cashew shells may have more benefits to offer. The article quotes Luiz Romeiro, a medicinal chemist at the University of Brazil, a saying: “This first paper is just the start of the iceberg because there is a huge mountain of data that we are studying.”
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Drug-Free Pain Relief through Wrapping Nerve Endings with Coolant? A group of researchers from Northwestern University are exploring relieving pain without the need for potentially addictive drugs, according to an article in FIERCE Biotech. Writing about a recent study published in Science, the article describes a paper-thin super coolant material that can be wrapped around nerve endings to numb nerves so pain signals aren’t sent to the brain. When the coolant expires, the water-soluble medium dissolves into the body. John Rogers, Ph.D., an engineering professor at Northwestern who led development of the device and is an author of the study, explains: “The technology reported here exploits mechanisms that have some similarities to those that cause your fingers to feel numb when cold. Our implant allows that effect to be produced in a programmable way, directly and locally to targeted nerves, even those deep within surrounding soft tissues.”
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Big Growth Forecast for Use of AI in Drug Discovery. Bloomberg carries a report from MarketsandMarkets, forecasting the global Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery Market will reach $4 billion by 2027, up from a projected $600 million in 2022, for an estimated CAGR of 45.7%. The report finds the growth of AI in the Drug Discovery Market is driven by the growing need to control drug discovery & development costs, and growing number of cross-industry collaborations and partnerships. However, it also notes: “On the other hand, a lack of data sets in the field of drug discovery and the inadequate availability of skilled labor are some of the factors challenging the growth of the market.” Of course, CDD Vault helps “skilled labor” easily handle and better understand their data sets…which is the foundation for all analytics and predictions.
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Optimism for Covid Vaccines? Drug Discovery Trends carries an article headlined “Moderna’s Omicron Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Outperformed Original Vaccine in Analysis.” Of course, everyone in our industry knows the challenge to keep up with the moving target of this virus’s mutations. It will be good to see Omicron-focused boosters working in the general population. The article quotes Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel as saying: “We want to be ready as early as August to be shipping.” Meanwhile Moderna President Stephen Hoge noted the need to determine how various omicron subvariants influence the performance of the booster candidate, saying: “We’re going to be testing our samples across a range of subvariant assays. But it’s important to note those are still research-grade assays, so there’s a high degree of variability in how they’re performing.”
Barry A. Bunin, PhD, is the Founder & CEO of Collaborative Drug Discovery, which provides a modern approach to drug discovery research informatics trusted globally by thousands of leading researchers. CDD Vault® is a hosted biological and chemical database that securely manages your private and external data.