"What's smaller than a breadbox, can cost $800 million or more, and takes more than eight years to research and develop?", asks a New York Times article on the streamlining of drug research.
Along with depicting the challenges, expense, and time faced by big pharma to discover and develop new drugs, the article also points to a possible solution: crowdsourcing.
We have previously talked about how crowdsourcing is all the rage in the translation business. And a distributed problem-solving and production model has been successfully used by people wanting to buy a beer company, Netflix (improving recommendation algorithms), reCAPTCHA (digitize old articles, newspapers), and, of course, Wikipedia. But big pharma? Wow!
The articles notes that:
a small group from the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. and the Harvard Business School has created Pharmer's Market, an online prediction market that uses crowd-sourcing to forecast the likelihood of a drug's success.The market, built on Crowdcast's Team Intelligence Platform, takes insight from "wisdom of the crowds" to leverage information from individual participants. The Pharmer's Market is currently predicting the outcomes of six breast cancer drugs with the long term goal of being a resource for the pharmaceutical community – continuing to test drugs in other areas. The results will help determine if the drugs will pass their trials, providing a better understanding of the safety and efficacy of these drugs and compounds to both professionals and the public at large.
Traditional drug development is a linear, trial-and-error method that is starting to look archaic and unsustainable. Accelerating the move from molecule to market means new thinking, new challenges but also new opportunities.
Oh, and the answer to the $800 million question? That, of course, is the fully capitalized cost to develop a new drug!
ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translations for all stages of drug development - from IP to clinical research to regulatory submissions to marketing and pharmacovigilance. Contact us to find out more.