Virtual Research Comes of Age

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Denise Myshko

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Through predictive biosimulation technologies that replicate experiments in a computer, companies are starting to reduce the time it takes to identify possible drug targets.
Imagine a world where drug-discovery researchers have powerful tools at hand that enable them to create computer models of how chemicals react in cells.
Imagine having better information about the safety and effectiveness of product candidates faster and at lower costs. Imagine having to do fewer clinical trials to determine dosing or to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Computational biologists and other researchers are working hard to make this vision a reality. As biomedical knowledge increases and bioinformatics capabilities grow, there is hope that greater predictive power may be obtained from in silico, in other words computer modeling, analyses.
Although the full benefits of biosimulation may be 10 years away, the payoff is big: shorter development cycles, as well as the ability to design better drug leads that have lower toxicity and that reach the right biological targets.
“Everyone thinks, although no one has done it yet, that we ought to be able to build realistic, comprehensive, and explanatory models of mammalian cell-cycle regulation,” says John J. Tyson, Ph.D., professor of biology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “We think we have proved the principal with simpler organisms such as yeast and we’re ready to move on to mammalian cells. I’m betting that when we have these accurate models, we will be able to predict in the computer how various drugs will interact…

A Dynamic and Rapidly Changing Market
Informatics Market Growth and Estimated Size in 2007 by Product Area

Experts on this Topic
Jack Gardner.Analyst, Kalorama Information, New York; Kalorama Information provides worldwide business intelligence and syndicated market research in life sciences to decision makers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical-device, and diagnostics sectors. For more information, visit
Martin S. Gerstel.Chairman, Compugen Inc., Jamesburg, N.J., and Founder of Alza Corp.; Compugen is a genomics-based drug and diagnostic discovery company that incorporates ideas and methods from mathematics, computer science, and physics into the disciplines of biology, organic chemistry, and medicine. For more information, visit
Richard Ho, M.D., Ph.D. Head of Medical Informatics in Drug Discovery, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC, La Jolla, Calif.; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development probes the frontiers of science in pursuit of new drugs, based on discrete molecular targets, in the areas of vascular research, neuroscience, metabolic diseases, immunology, reproductive health, oncology, virology, antimicrobials, and inflammation. For more information, visit
Scott Kahn, Ph.D. Chief Science Officer, Accelrys Inc., San Diego; Accelrys is a computational science company, developing and delivering scientific software applications and services that help solve critical R&D problems. For more information, visit
Andrew LeBeau, Ph.D.Senior Scientist, ProSanos Corp., La Jolla, Calif.; ProSanos provides disease-specific analytical products and services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostics companies, as well as for government, researchers, and healthcare providers. For more information, visit
Thomas Paterson.Cofounder and Senior VP, Entelos Inc., Foster City, Calif.; Entelos provides predictive biosimulation for in silico drug discovery and development, providing integrated expertise in the metabolic, immunologic, and respiratory areas. For more information, visit
Jody Porrazzo, Ph.D.Director of Econometric Risk Strategy, NiiS/APEX Group Holdings, Princeton, N.J.; NiiS/APEX, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., is a consulting and insurance services organization that specializes in actuarial, underwriting, claims management, and audit services. For more information, visit
Michael Swenson.Research Manager, Life Science Insights, Framingham, Mass.; Life Science Insights, an IDC Company, is focused on providing global market and technology intelligence and analysis, which supports executives in fact-based decision making. For more information, visit
John J. Tyson, Ph.D. Professor of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.; Virginia Tech is Virginia’s largest university with 25,600 students and is one of the top 50 research institutions in the nation. For more information, visit


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