The future of drug discovery? New tech, a focus on human biology, and partnerships, says Charles River

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Charles river, Clinical trial

Advanced imaging in drug discovery aims to improve the success rate of drug development as the industry continues to tackle devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s – but no research lab can do it alone, says Charles River managing director.

To learn more about the advances in imaging, Outsourcing-Pharma.com talked with Antti Nurmi, Ph.D., managing director at Charles River Finland at the company’s inaugural World Congress on Animal Models in Drug Discovery & Development.

Nurmi said he expects the industry and Charles River will introduce new models and new technologies, such as CRISPR. He also expects more work to be done with 3D tissue cultures and computational biology, which will help reduce the amount of animal experimentation needed.

However, he doesn’t think researchers will be able to stop using animal models completely, for safety reasons, but additional tools can be applied to supplement and complement data. “This way we can have better success in the clinical research and in drug development​,” he said.

Additionally, Nurmi said more attention will be given to human biology.

One of the points that have been raised over the years is that we tend to probably not understand human biology well enough and we need to go back or revisit the human biology better​.”

By revisiting human biology, and gaining a better understanding of it, researchers may be able to customize or tailor animal models to be more clinically meaningful, he explained.

Ultimately, Nurmi said he is confident that there will be successes in the future as the industry continues to tackle devastating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. “It’s been such a big hurdle just to understand the disease itself,”​ he noted.

It’s really a joint effort. No research lab can do that by themselves and also not the industry themselves​ … We really need to partner​,” Nurmi added. “Otherwise, I’ll be waking up in the nighttime being afraid that when I’m at 70 or 80 years of age that there will still not be Alzheimer’s drugs available that I most likely will need at that time.”

Watch the video above to hear what Nurmi had to say on the use of advanced imaging, how the industry can work together to improve the success rate of drug development, and what the next five to ten years may bring.

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