Translational Disconnect

Bioscience innovation is in crisis. What can we do about it?

Alan Walton and Frederick Frank
Mar 1, 2008
<figcaption> Credit: ® PhotoAlto</figcaption>
Credit: ® PhotoAlto

How can the discovery of novel pharmaceuticals for diseases, old and new, be better, faster and cheaper? The pat answer is, of course, research. But, given that more than 80% of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today, why are there only 10-20 new drugs approved each year? Why does it cost $1 billion and take 15 years to get each one to market? And why are there fewer and fewer global pharmaceutical companies charging us more and more for our prescription drugs?

As a starting point to finding more efficient and effective pathways, we must first examine the current barriers or lack of pathways for new innovative research to see daylight, meaning commercialization, and how these barriers may be addressed.

There are two reasons, one of which - the sheer complexity of biology - we can do nothing about. The other is more tractable...