Bioinformatics: The quest for new drugs finds significant profits

NEW YORK--July 31, 2002-- Bioinformatics, a combination of information technology (IT) and biological sciences, is being recognized as a critical component of drug discovery by both pharmaceutical and pure IT companies.

"With the massive quantities of data now available to researchers, computers have become essential," says Technical Insights Analyst Katherine Austin. "However, having the data in the computer does not mean that it can be used in any meaningful way. The challenge for bioinformatics developers is to design platforms that can manage, retrieve, organize, compare, manipulate, and integrate data in a way that accelerates research, rather than acting as a bottleneck."

The discovery of new drugs means substantial profits, making bioinformatics a bright new field. Bioinformatics and molecular modeling technologies have the potential, within three to five years, to hugely decrease the risk, cost, and expertise required for the early stages of drug development--target selection and validation.

A significant application of bioinformatics is in silico discovery, which is the collection of data to substantiate targets and better the chances that a particular drug lead will be successful. This technology sorts and organizes data to enable scientists to identify potential drug targets, disease susceptibility, drug toxicity and efficacy, as well as individual responses to medication.

In addition, computer modeling of molecular structure can aid researchers in optimizing a potential drug lead, by allowing them to observe the effects of structural changes without expensive wet-lab experiments. If two or three targets result in marketable drugs, it will be a very profitable investment for pharmaceutical companies.

Success in the bioinformatics market depends on improved integration and interoperability among different software vendors, database providers, computer hardware, and in-house compilations. Developers need to focus

Contact: Julia Rowell
Technical Insights

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