Pharma Technology Focus - Issue 13

From advances in robotic research to new cures for addictions and life-threatening diseases, drug developers are opening up new frontiers.


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Research alliances and outsourcing are increasingly important in early drug discovery as even large pharmaceutical companies do not always have the capabilities to develop new drugs alone. In this issue we look at the latest R&D and the strategies being used to develop and manage successful research partnerships.

We also explore the recent breakthroughs in robotics and artificial intelligence that are being used for drug research and find out how far we are from seeing robotic researchers taking over the labs completely.

Research into treatment of, and indeed vaccination against, drug addictions is currently seeing a boom, but Big Pharma is slow to get involved. We investigate ethical issues and regulatory barriers surrounding medication for addiction control and look at the most promising medicines in the pipeline. We also examine the potential of plasma for the treatment of life-threatening viral diseases, and find out whether genetic screening of tumour tissues could revolutionise the way cancer patients are treated for good.

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In this issue

Research Alliances
Research partnerships and outsourcing of core capabilities are increasingly important in drug discovery. We take a look at AstraZeneca's latest alliances and the benefits they bring to the search for innovative medicines.
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The Perfect Fit
The spiralling costs of drug development means outsourcing has become the bedrock of the pharmaceuticals industry. We investigate how to achieve the best cross-company relationships.
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Robotic Researchers
Big Pharma has increasingly been using robotics to automate specific processes and now Manchester University's Professor Ross King is on a mission to prove that robotic researchers could soon match their human counterparts.
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Plasma Goes Viral
Research suggests plasma can kill viruses within seconds. Julia Zimmermann, research leader at Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics tells us how it can be used to change the way hospital infections are treated.
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Curing Addiction
Drug abuse is not only a major public health problems but a market potentially worth billions for pharmaceutical companies. We find out how the ethical issues and regulatory barriers surrounding the control of drug addiction medication could be a thing of the past.
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The Path to Personalised Medicine
The future of patient treatments and drug development could be changed forever thanks to the genetic screening of tumour tissues. We talk to researchers from the UK's stratified cancer programme about using personalised treatments in the fight against cancer.
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Next Issue: Clinical Data Management

Despite modern software advances, creating an overarching clinical data management strategy is extremely challenging. We speak to clinical data experts about the benefits of adapting data standards and the risks involved if users choose to ignore them.

We also look into the UK Government's controversial plan to open up clinical patient data to the pharmaceutical industry and cast a critical eye over its opportunities and dangers.

Moreover, we investigate the risks posed by missing or inadequate data, explore the rise of collaborative clinical data software and delve into cloud computing to find out whether this technology can streamline date for the drug industry to make information more accessible.

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