How Are New Pharmaceutical Drugs Developed?
The initial phase of drug development consists of laboratory tests to identify and improve the medicine, followed by clinical trials to assess the treatment’s safety and effectiveness in patients. Despite technical breakthroughs, fewer new drugs are authorized each year.
Who Are The Scientists Who Develop Pharmaceutical Drugs?
While pharmacists are well-trained to assess drug usage, connect with other healthcare professionals, prepare and distribute prescriptions, and educate patients about these medications, pharmaceutical scientists are well-trained to discover, develop, test and produce new pharmaceuticals.
A typical pharmaceutical scientist spends most of their time in a laboratory, researching and studying how various substances interact with disease-causing cells and organisms. Furthermore, they look into how these chemicals interact with the human body, in order to see whether they may be developed into new medications.
It takes a long time and a lot of money to develop new medications. The whole procedure is divided into three stages:
- Discovery – Identifying new compounds that help treat disease
- Development – Testing the new medicine on animals and people to ensure its safety and efficacy
- Manufacturing – Producing the new drug in large quantities for distribution
Developing novel medications requires a large team of scientists trained in various scientific fields including chemistry, biology, engineering, informatics and medicine.
During the discovery phase, pharmaceutical experts often test hundreds of chemical compounds before discovering one which efficiently combats illness, without causing damage to the patient. Alternatively, hundreds of molecular pathways are investigated to see whether a protein might improve signaling. If a pharmaceutical scientist discovers a promising new molecule or target today, it might take up to 20 years before the treatment is accessible in your local pharmacy.
Pharmaceutical scientists often focus on a single area of the drug development process. They may:
- Create new drug treatments by combining natural and synthetic (artificial) substances.
- Discover new methods using current medications to treat various forms of sickness.
- Investigate how illness affects the body (and what causes specific forms of sickness to occur in certain individuals).
- Investigate how the human body reacts to pharmaceuticals, so that other scientists may create better, safer treatments.
- Test drugs on animals and people in order to guarantee their safety and effectiveness.
- Determine the best formulation and dosage for a certain medicine.
- Work on improving the drug manufacturing process.
- Ensure the consistent quality of prescription medications
- Provide advice to firms or government bodies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on pharmaceutical development concerns.
Pharmaceutical scientists enjoy the satisfaction of spending their time exploring methods to help people battle sickness and remain healthy, regardless of where they choose to focus in the medication development process.
Pharmaceutical scientists work for a wide range of organizations including multinational drug manufacturing and biotech firms, contract research organizations (CROs), university institutions and government agencies. Many work in labs as part of a large team of scientists and technicians exploring new medicinal treatments. Others educate and work in offices near universities or hospitals, monitor clinical drug studies, or manage large-scale medicine production in manufacturing facilities.
Pharmaceutical scientists deal with small substances and use modern computers and equipment to perform numerous studies. They must be very precise and detailed. They must also be patient, since it can take several years for a team of pharmaceutical experts to bring a novel medication to market.
A significant proficiency in mathematics, biology, chemistry and the scientific method is required to become a pharmaceutical scientist. You might major in pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacy, biology, chemistry, medicine, engineering or a college-related discipline. You should select early on the specific stage of the drug development cycle you want to concentrate on: discovery, development or manufacturing.
Because you’ll be working as part of a scientific team comprised of individuals from various backgrounds, you’ll need to be good at communicating. You must be able to remain engaged and inspire your team during the lengthy development process. You must also be ready to deal with failure and disappointment – the majority of promising new treatments are rejected before they reach the market because either they are harmful, do not function consistently, or have severe side effects.
More information on new pharmaceutical drugs and their development can be found at Rondaxe online or by calling (315) 469-2800.