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How Tech Accelerates The Drug Development Process

February 17, 2023 No Comments

by Bernard J. Dodd

A fast and reliable transition from preclinical studies to clinical trials is the gold standard of drug development. With the COVID-19 vaccine developments rewriting and speeding up timetables, leadership teams are scrambling to keep up with the competition.

Leadership teams must also think about efficiency, industry trends, escalating costs, variable lab supplies, and technology availability when planning their drug development processes. 

Fortunately, technological advances are altering how companies study and develop pharmaceuticals, saving labs time and money and increasing safety and precision. 

These improvements may be trailed back to recent research regarding the pharmaceutical industry pooling and investing at least USD$238 billion in 2021 for research and development (R&D) improvements, in contrast to the 2012 estimated spent value of USD$137 billion. 

These strategies entail analyzing and improving existing patient recruiting, drug development, or site performance strategies to reduce costs and increase participation from underrepresented patient groups. Here are five ways tech can improve lab operations and R&D workflows to speed up the discovery of new drugs.

1. Take Advantage Of Automation In Clinical Trials

It’s crucial to note the importance of clinical trial testing in the drug development process. However, many major pharmaceutical firms are still using clinical trial methods developed in the past that are relatively outdated, despite the availability of new data sources and technological advancements. Further information arrives before the results of previous studies have been analyzed, making data processing initiatives seem intractable. 

Automating some parts of the clinical trial development is the key to solving this problem. Automation improves the effectiveness of team workflows by decreasing the amount of manual effort required for routine tasks and eliminating the potential for human error or interference when dealing with data. 

It may improve trial efficiency by helping with patient recruiting and data analysis. Time is of the essence for businesses that want to adopt automation. Labs undergoing digital transitions may find the process time-consuming and challenging because it necessitates focusing on the big picture rather than specific projects. 

In addition, regular testing and iteration of automated processes are essential for ensuring systems are functioning as intended. But if it’s done right, the return on investment is significant—time spent now will save time in the future, and more automated processes will make room for new projects.

2. Overall Improves Both Patient And Employee Experience

Digital health equipment was already widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as a form of patient recruitment and participation in studies with low engagement before the epidemic.

Pharmaceutical companies have tried to incorporate new patient technologies into current trial stages, but the results have been less than stellar. Rather than adding new equipment and technology midway through a trial, it is ideal to introduce innovations like e-consent and patient engagement apps at the outset.

In addition, by employing remote communication tools, upper management can implement streamlined operating techniques for lab workers during patient trials. At any point in the drug trial, staff members, whether they are at the office or home, can access patient records stored in a secure cloud environment.

3. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence To Ease Workload

There has been a recent uptick in adopting machine learning and other AI-driven techniques in the healthcare industry. By eliminating the time and money generally allocated to bench scientists for manually analyzing data, these projects hope to speed up the process of discovering and developing new medicines.

Discovery timeframes that used to take several years have been partly shortened by artificial intelligence’s ability to speed up the traditionally slow periods of early research. The process of recruiting patients for clinical trials of novel medications is also made easier by this development.

4. Hasten Data Gathering Via Fast Online Methods

Focus groups were once quite time-consuming and expensive, but now they are being replaced with online questionnaires. Focus groups are a systematic market research method that involves gathering several individuals to hear their feedback on a particular product or service.

These conversations can be gold mines for eliciting nuanced customer feedback about what they liked and didn’t like about a product or service. However, internet surveys are superior to focus groups when collecting quantitative data because they don’t require as much participation from respondents.

They also make it easier for drug makers to collect data from more than one patient at a time, which helps gauge how many people generally have positive or adverse reactions to a given medication.

5. Providing Reliable Data To Researchers On-The-Go

Cloud computing is a crucial part of today’s technological landscape. Through cloud computing, businesses can now store and process massive data sets. Thus, they can develop better medicines for people to use.

Using cloud computing, researchers can now access real-time data on drug trials from anywhere. Startups wanting to enter the industry will find this technology especially useful because it allows them to communicate with doctors remotely.

Data analytics is becoming increasingly popular as cloud computing gains popularity. Decisions on which pharmaceuticals to study can now be made with greater precision and based less on conjecture and more on hard evidence. In addition, it provides a numeric assessment of the new drug’s efficacy.

Hopefully, you’ve gained more insight into how tech assists in drug development. It can not only help decrease the time needed for several processes, but it also generally aids the researchers in some past phases and activities that would have been difficult for them.

Takeaway

Research and the creation of new medications benefit significantly from technological advancements. Noting that these technological advances will help our diligent researchers save many lives, for the time being, is enough to get everyone enthusiastic about what else might come out as science and technology continue their upward trajectory to help and aid humankind.

About the Author

Bernard J. Dodd, with over 10 years of experience in biochemistry and molecular biology, has contributed to more than 40 papers in high-impact journals. He is an avid sailor and enjoys traveling to exotic locations around the world.

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