Theme of the Conference
Technology has been a significant driver of advances in drug discovery. Automation, nanofluidics, imaging, software and assay technologies have played a pivotal role in acquiring better data, faster.
The number of new drug approvals has remained reasonably steady for the past 50 years at around 20 to 30 per year, while at the same time the total spending on health-related research and development has tripled since 1990. There are many suspected causes for this trend, including increases in regulatory barriers, the rising costs of scientific inquiry, a decrease in research and development efficiency, the downstream effects of patient expirations on investment, and the lack of production models that have successfully incorporated new technology. Regardless, this trajectory is not economically sustainable for the businesses involved, and, in response, many companies are turning toward collaborative models of drug development, whether with other industrial firms, academia, or government. Introducing greater efficiency and knowledge into these new models and aligning incentives among participants may help to reverse the trends highlighted above, while producing more effective drugs in the process.
To summarise new technologies have the potential to open up avenues of development and to identify new drug targets to pursue.