The drug discovery process is a complex endeavor, where scientists need to be very systematic and rational, but at the same time there is a need for flexibility, creativity, and innovation. Some steps in the process can be carried out simultaneously, whereas others have to happen in a certain sequence, with one step leading to the next one. You have to see the big picture while focusing on each detail simultaneously, as if assembling an immense puzzle.
Drug discovery in itself is basic research; it is performed in pharmaceutical companies in the same way it is done in universities. We start from existing knowledge as raw material, organize this knowledge, and generate new knowledge. When scientists discover a new drug, it is not a pill or a tablet that is the final product; it is new knowledge for the benefit of society.
It is important first to understand the complete patho-physiology of a disease or condition in order to recognize compounds that may interfere with the disease mechanism. These potential compounds are called "targets."
Was this article helpful?