IBM Reboots Drug Discover - Pharmaceutical Technology

Latest Issue

Latest Issue
PharmTech Europe

IBM Reboots Drug Discover
Can the semiconductor industry help Big Pharma develop therapies?

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 35, Issue 5, pp. 14

Erik Greb
Despite the adoption of new research strategies, the pharmaceutical industry's pipelines are slow to grow. Perhaps other industries will take up the challenge of developing new drugs.

It's already happening at IBM, where researchers have unveiled a biodegradable nanoparticle that targets and destroys antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. The nanoparticle's specific electrical charge draws it to an opposite charge on the surface of the bacteria. When it finds its target, the nanoparticle pokes holes in the bacterial membrane and empties out the bacteria, IBM researcher James Hedrick told The Wall Street Journal. By destroying the bacteria, the nanoparticle may prevent them from developing resistance.

The semiconductor industry has embraced many techniques (e.g., outsourcing, supply-chain management, and robotic technology) that drugmakers eventually adopted for their own purposes. IBM's development strikes me as another example of synergies that can be gained across seemingly disparate industries.

Finding the next blockbuster may be much more difficult now than it was in the past. But even if drug candidates are fewer, IBM's nanoparticle shows that technological innovations are increasing. If small- and large-molecule firms keep their minds and eyes open, they might come up with exciting new modes of action or methods of drug delivery. Maybe current challenges—and good examples—will stimulate drugmakers' ingenuity.

Erik Greb is an assistant editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.


blog comments powered by Disqus
LCGC E-mail Newsletters

Subscribe: Click to learn more about the newsletter
| Weekly
| Monthly
| Weekly

Which of the following business challenge poses the greatest threat to your company?
Building a sustainable pipeline of products
Attracting a skilled workforce
Obtaining/maintaining adequate financing
Regulatory compliance
Building a sustainable pipeline of products
Attracting a skilled workforce
Obtaining/maintaining adequate financing
Regulatory compliance
View Results
Eric Langer Outsourcing Outlook Eric LangerBiopharma Outsourcing Activities Update
Cynthia Challener, PhD Ingredients Insider Cynthia Challener, PhDAppropriate Process Design Critical for Commercial Manufacture of Highly Potent APIs
Jill Wechsler Regulatory Watch Jill Wechsler FDA and Manufacturers Seek a More Secure Drug Supply Chain
Sean Milmo European Regulatory WatcchSean MilmoQuality by Design?Bridging the Gap between Concept and Implementation
Medicare Payment Data Raises Questions About Drug Costs
FDA Wants You!
A New Strategy to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance
Drug-Diagnostic Development Stymied by Payer Concerns
Obama Administration Halts Attack on Medicare Drug Plans
Source: Pharmaceutical Technology,
Click here