March 21, 2012

Truly Innovative Drug Discovery

Dr Youssef Bennani, a speaker at the marcus evans Discovery Summit 2012, on developing innovative drugs.

London, Mar 21, 2012 - (ACN Newswire) - Pharmaceutical companies need to ask themselves whether they are truly innovating and adding value, or doing a lot of "Me Too" type of work, says Dr Youssef Bennani, Vice President Research & Development (R&D), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Canada). The bloated cost of clinical development is largely due to the "Me Too" concept, he adds.

A speaker at the marcus evans Discovery Summit 2012, in Cannes, France, 22 - 23 March, Bennani offers his expertise into drug discovery and adding value to R&D programmes.

- How can pharmaceutical companies add value to R&D programmes?

Pharmaceutical companies need to focus on the real priorities - innovation in disease control and treatment, instead of endeavouring in a lot of "Me Too" work. A focus on real patient needs, rather than meeting financial goals is mandatory.

- Why is this an issue in this industry?

The pressure to bring in revenue is common in all businesses, but the pharmaceutical industry has gone to the extreme of absolutelymatching marketing expectations to the detriment of what is necessary for the patient. Decisions are based on guarding market share and generating revenue, rather than on better disease treatments. Adjusting the thinking within the industry would lead to better, as well as, differentiated products.

- How would this impact the cost of drug development?

The bloated cost of clinical development is largely due to the concept of repetition. For second or third generation products, regulators demand large trials to show differentiation or non-inferiority, making drug development costly. Trials of brand new drugs should cost less. Stratification with regards to genotyping patients (selecting who is more likely to respond) and personalised medicine would go a long way to reduce costs.

On the discovery front, if times were shortened, the cost of researching would obviously go down. However, the cost of drug discovery is far inferior to that of clinical development, on a programme basis. Efforts in saving from the larger part and speeding it up would make a bigger difference.

- What are some of the scientific areas worth following?

A much greater investment and understanding of predictive toxicology on all fronts is needed. In the past, drugs failed due to our inability to predict pharmacokinetics and toxicology in human settings. We have come a long way in pharmacokinetics but not yet mastered the science of toxicology.

Predictive pharmacology is another area that has not yet panned out. Many molecules work in animal models of disease, but fail in the clinic. The link between discovery and clinical pharmacology should be further researched.

About the Discovery Summit 2012

This unique forum will take place at the Majestic Barriere Hotel, Cannes, France, 22 - 23 March 2012.

Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on ensuring successful drug discovery, stimulating innovation and creating partnerships.

For more information please send an email to [email protected] or visit the event website at

The Pharma Network - marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional trends and breakthrough innovations.
marcus evans group - life sciences / pharma sector portal:

Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world's leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

Source: marcus evans Summits


Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian
Press Manager,
marcus evans Summits
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