Virtual ExperienceJanuary 23, 2018

Supporting Small Molecule Drug Discovery with Collaboration

  While many pharmaceutical firms have devoted significant resources to exploring the…
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Pharmaceutical firms have formed collaborations to support small molecule drug discovery. How can implementing digital solutions aid their efforts?

While many pharmaceutical firms have devoted significant resources to exploring the innovative realm of biologics, small molecule drug discovery remains a priority for many disease classes, such as oncology. In order to navigate the realities of today’s competitive marketplace, drug companies are forming partnerships with other life science organizations to accelerate the pace of small molecule discovery and development by pooling their respective resources and proprietary technologies. This is an important and necessary strategy, but these collaborations can introduce new difficulties to the R&D process, so organizations must remain vigilant and implement digital strategies that support these partnerships effectively by facilitating rapid, context-based information-sharing.

Collaborative Partnerships Benefit Small Molecule Drug Discovery

Scientific collaboration has always occupied an important role in successful R&D, but the pressure to develop new small molecule drugs highlights the ways these partnerships can aid discovery. Whether the end goal is discovering new small molecules that make oral administration possible[1], enabling the identification of compounds for otherwise difficult-to-match targets[2], the benefits introduced by partnerships are the same: reducing the R&D cycle in small-molecule drug discovery, increasing potential output, and sharing developmental risks and costs[3].

Modern Digital Laboratory Solutions Can Boost R&D Collaboration

As R&D collaborations become the norm for small molecule drug discovery, laboratories must ensure that their workflows remain efficient to meet the aims of keeping costs down and bringing products to market faster. The areas of particular concern include:

  • Information access: In many laboratories, data is often stored in separate, disjointed locations. The time it takes to extract this information for sharing can be detrimental to small molecule collaborations where R&D is divided between two companies, such as cases where one firm provides drug delivery technologies while the other identifies promising compounds. It locks the context of important research data, which hinders crucial insights and decision-making. To circumvent these difficulties, R&D organizations need to adopt solutions that integrate the various laboratory components—such as instrumentation and data—to remove the inefficiencies introduced by disjointed processes.
  • Standardized processes: In addition to disjointed processes, procedural and data variation can contribute further inefficiencies. To glean the most useful insights and make the best decisions, organizations must be confident of information quality. For instance, fluctuations in process parameters can lead to data of uncertain quality regarding new or insufficiently characterized targets. These variations can affect the identification of promising small molecule drugs, where efficacy can depend on minute differences in chemical structure. Collaborations must ensure that any strategies they utilize enable consistency via quality controls.
  • Quality documentation: Complying with regulatory guidelines can hinder rapid small molecule drug discovery due to the effort required to gather quality metrics throughout the product cycle. In collaborations where each company contributes foundational aspects of the final small molecule drug, comparable quality, and safety standards must be followed and documented. By building upon standardized processes, constant refinement of procedures is possible, leading to a culture of continual quality improvement over the partnership’s lifetime. By integrating previously disjointed processes, documenting deviations and the steps taken to address those issues become easier, allowing organizations to better able to meet regulatory standards.

To be as effective as possible, partnerships must devote their attention to effective information sharing and implement software-enhanced strategies required in today’s highly competitive, highly scrutinized marketplace. The ONE Lab industry solution supports small molecule drug discovery by integrating the various components found in modern pharmaceutical R&D laboratories. It provides tools required by today’s collaborations, including the ability to share data within context, process standardization for improved data and quality consistency, and continual refinement of procedures to meet regulatory compliance. As pharmaceutical partnerships gain importance in the R&D sector, the ability to facilitate effective communication between organizations will also be required. Contact us today to learn how ONE Lab can realize these goals for your company.

[1] “Sanofi, DiCE Announce Multi-Billion R&D Collaboration,” March 17, 2016,

[2] “Neuvolution, Amgen to Collaborate on Oncology & Neuroscience Projects,” October 6, 2016,

[3] “Evotec inks deal with C4X Discovery,” September 29, 2016,]

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