The field of developing new drugs is plagued by three interrelated problems: staggering costs, lengthy development times, and a dismal failure rate.
1. The typical new drug to hit pharmacy shelves comes with a hefty price tag of $4.2 billion in R&D costs. Industry analysts are nearly unanimous in their opinion that this high development cost represents a major obstacle in the fight against disease.
source: PWC Pharma 2020 From Vision to Decision
2. The process of drug development is extremely lengthy. It can sometimes take over a decade to go from discovering a new compound to bringing one FDA-approved drug to patients.
3. The failure rate for new drugs is very high. Today, the vast majority of candidate drugs fail somewhere along the development pipeline: about 90%, up from 70% in 1990. The path to each success is strewn with dozens of failures, most of which were discarded for reasons of human safety or efficacy.
NuMedii is a next generation pharmaceutical company that is working to improve the drug discovery and preclinical process, using proprietary technology developed in Atul Butte’s Stanford Lab to raise the success rate and decrease the time it takes to get drugs to market.
- NuMedii using predictive analytics and machine learning to sort through huge datasets in order to identify drugs and diseases with contrasting gene expression profiles. If a given disease activates gene A, then any drug that deactivates gene A may be an effective treatment. This approach allows NuMedii to identify the handful of drugs that are most likely to be successful.
- NuMedii can use their approach to repurpose existing drugs that are known to be safe in humans, in order to treat a different disease. This eliminates wasteful efforts that result in drugs that prove unsafe. The technology has shown early signs of viability: Stanford researchers have used it to repurpose an antidepressant to treat small-cell lung cancer in mice.
“We are leveraging the world’s life science data,“ said Scott Saywell, Vice President of Corporate Development at NuMedii. Saywell continued, describing the impact this technology could have on patients. “In our industry, where you really create value is by improving a patient’s life … So our whole business model is applying this technology to come up with a better way to develop new treatments for patients who need them.”