Next big thing: predicting drug results

Figuring out how to predict whether a drug will have negative consequences before investing the millions of dollars required to conduct clinical trials with human beings is eminently to be desired. Now there’s a name for doing this; it’s called toxico-genomics (predictive toxicology), according to the latest print edition of Fast Company magazine.

Young companies are entering the field selling their services to big pharmaceutical and biotech firms. The big guys like Schering-Plough and GE Healthcare are talking about it at conferences and in boardrooms, and you can be sure, where this much money is in the balance, it’s going to happen–sooner rather than later–that predictive toxicology will become the place to be for aggressive young bioscientist entrepreneurs.

The same way that researchers learn everything they can about a particular step in a disease process and then have to go one step backwards in the process and start examining an earlier piece of the puzzle, so in the macro sense the industry is looking for ever-earlier ways to intervene in the long, expensive and laborious process of getting drugs and treatments finally approved by governing bodies like FDA.

The winners of this race backwards will be the winners of the pot of gold.