The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with the Best of 2016.

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “The Best of 2016”.

First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year (a bit late I suppose, but better late than never!) and I hope that you all enjoyed your holidays and have returned to work refreshed and suitably focused upon the year ahead. Good luck in all your ventures. In an attempt to tie up the loose ends of articles published last year in Drug Discovery Today, that perhaps didn’t fit into an obvious category for previous (or future) Editor’s Choice newsletters, I have selected 4 articles that I found particularly interesting and potentially impactful. I hope that you agree with me, but as this is a personal choice, I won’t be offended if you don’t. I suppose that one thing that most of the articles have in common is that they do not deal with the science of discovery, but more with collaboration and regulatory processes.

The first article (which actually deals with some of the science underpinning drug discovery) is from Nathan Fuller, Loredana Spadola, Scott Cowen, Joe Patel, Heike Schönherr, Qing Cao, Andrew McKenzie, Fredrik Edfeldt, Al Rabow and Robert Goodnow of AstraZeneca, entitled: “An improved model for fragment-based lead generation at AstraZeneca”. The article describes those operational changes that were introduced by AstraZeneca in order to improve the process, with respect to efficiency and productivity. Specifically, this process dealed with their fragment-based screening efforts; this approach highlighted how 2D and 3D fragments provided complementary hits that allowed exploration of binding sites and eventually the potential to generate lead series.

The second featured article is by Per I. Arvidsson, Kristian Sandberg and Karin Forsberg-Nilsson of the Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University, Sweden is entitled: “Open for collaboration: an academic platform for drug discovery and development at SciLifeLab”. This deals with how SciLifeLab provides industry-standard platforms to facilitate drug discovery in the academic sector in Sweden. They overview their first 2 years of operation in order to highlight and share best practices on a global basis. The article also discusses the Swedish Teacher Exemption Law, how it has impacted on the initiative and developed the overall process. Furthermore, they describe how best to facilitate collaboration for the benefit of patients.

Next, from Ajay Gautam, of AstraZeneca comes a short paper entitled: “The changing model of big pharma: impact of key trends”. The author outlines how, in the last few years, the Pharmaceutical industry has been highly successful in terms of discovering and developing phenomenal advances in drugs for the treatment of a range of diverse diseases, this has come with equally great challenges with respect to pricing and reimbursement. He has analysed data from the last 20 years and has identified 4 key themes driving change in strategic direction and the impact of emerging markets in terms of revenue generation.

Last, but by no means least, is the article “Transparency in drug regulation: public assessment reports in Europe and Australia” from Peter Papathanasiou, Laurent Brassart, Paul Blake, Anna Hart, Lel Whitbread, Richard Pembrey and Jill Kieffer from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia and the European Medicines Agency, London, UK. They describe the experiences of both agencies with respect to publishing public assessment reports and how they may most effectively disseminate information related to medicine to the general public. Valuably, they discuss European Public Assessment Reports (EPARs) and Australian Public Assessment Reports (AusPARs) and provide information about the considerations that led the particular regulator to approve or refuse the application.

Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents. 

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