New Tools for Drug Discovery
Drug discovery costs are increasing rapidly, in large part due to the high failure rate for potential new drugs. There is a less than 1 per cent success rate for drugs that progress through the various phases of drug development. In addition, the average cost to market a new drug is more than $1 billion, and only three out of 10 drugs generate enough revenue to cover their research and development costs.
Natural products have historically proven reliable as lead compounds for drug discovery. These agents are responsible for more than 60 per cent of the anticancer agents that have entered clinical trials in the last 30 years.
The recent advent of chemical genetics is now providing exciting possibilities for affordable drug development, but considerable knowledge gaps remain before the market potential of these drugs can be realized.
Dr. Andrew Evans, Canada Research Chair in Organic and Organometallic Chemistry, is focusing on new ways to speed up the development of complex bioactive natural products. Success in doing so will provide new leads for drug development.
Evans’ research will have a positive impact on health care, agriculture, textiles and manufacturing, as well as for chemical industries like agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals that produce functional organic molecules.