The Future of Drug Discovery

1st Edition

Who Decides Which Diseases to Treat?

Authors: Tamas Bartfai Graham Lees
Paperback ISBN: 9780124071803
eBook ISBN: 9780124095199
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 29th May 2013
Page Count: 376
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The Future of Drug Discovery: Who decides which diseases to treat? provides a timely and detailed look at the efforts of the pharmaceutical industry and how they relate, or should relate, to societal needs. The authors posit that as a result of increasing risk aversion and accelerated savings in research and development, the industry is not developing drugs for increasingly prevalent diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, untreatable pain, antibiotics and more. This book carefully exposes the gap between the medicines and therapies we need and the current business path. By analyzing the situation and discussing prospects for the next decade, the The Future of Drug Discovery is a timely book for all those who care about the development needs for drugs for disease.

Key Features

  • Provides an in-depth, broad perspective on the crisis in drug industry
  • Exposes the disconnect between what society needs and what the drug companies are working on
  • Analyses and projects over 10 years into the future
  • Explains what it means for scientists and society
  • Determines what is needed to be done to make sure that the industry responds to society's needs, remains commercially attractive and answers the question as to who decides which diseases to treat


Biomedical researchers involved in drug discovery in industry and academic settings, physicians, patient advocacy groups, health economists and regulatory officials

Table of Contents

Expert Reviews for The Future of Drug Discovery: Who Decides Which Diseases to Treat?



Foreword by Graeme Bilbe PhD

Foreword by James H Eberwine PhD

Foreword by Eduard Enrico Holdener MD

Chapter 00: Introduction

What medicines you will need & why you might not ever have them

Aging is the major risk factor for disease

Painful truth & AD

More government action required

The decisiveness & divisiveness of market access

Government can change the future

Not all is doom & gloom

What can society do?

Chapter 01. Why there will be new drugs despite the ongoing “crisis” of drug development in Big Pharma

Pharmaceutical industry in crisis & consolidation

Why is there a strong belief that new future medicines will come?

Safe drugs in new indications: one does not always need new drugs for new therapies

Preventive drugs: large, long, expensive, convincing trials

Age as a risk factor & keeping costs in check

Newly orphaned diseases: more government needed

Chapter 02. The need for medicines grows

Small molecules & biologicals

The aging population

Rare or “orphan” diseases

Drug development: adding biologicals

Treatment of MS

Treatment of RA

Recombinant proteins as treatments

Future recombinant proteins as treatments

Pharma, governments, & nongovernmental organizations

Chapter 03. Medicines are becoming better: some of the breakthrough medicines of the past decades

Significant progress since WW II

The great beginning & the feared end of extremely profitable drug discovery

Drug discovery recovery, phase 1

Drug discovery arrested?

Meta-analysis matters: new twist on old information

New uses for safe drugs


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© Academic Press 2013
Academic Press
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About the Author

Tamas Bartfai

Tamas Bartfai was a student of mathematics, physics, and chemistry before translating his skills into biochemistry, pharmacology and neuroscience. Trained in Stockholm University, Yale University, and The Rockefeller University, he is presently a professor at The Scripps Research Institute, the University Oxford, and the University of Pennsylvania, and an expert in medicinal chemistry and the neurological sciences. He has been working in the development of new medicines and vaccines for many years as a former Sr.VP of Hoffmann La Roche, and long-term consultant at Astra, Novartis and, presently, Pfizer. Eight of the drugs Dr. Bartfai developed are in clinical use and three are in trials. He has trained and collaborated with many scientists throughout his scientific work on the topics of fever, neuropeptides, and prostaglandins, while publishing over 400 articles in over 80 journals. Dr. Bartfai has held many prestigious academic positions. He is a member of Academia Europae and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a fellow of AAAS for pioneering work on neuropeptides, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physics. He was professor of the Karolinska Institute, which awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. He has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes including Eötvös Medal for mathematics in 1966, Budapest, Hungary; Royal Swedish Academy’s Svedberg Prize for biochemistry in 1985 and Ericsson Prize in 1996; and the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award 2002.

Affiliations and Expertise

PhD, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA Harold L. Dorris Neurological Research Center and Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA

Graham Lees

Graham V Lees acquired his BA, MA and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge. His postdoctoral work on the biophysics of ion channels was followed by a lengthy career in scientific, technical and medical publishing with Elsevier (Amsterdam), Raven Press (New York), Academic Press (San Diego & London) and TheScientificWorld (San Diego, Boynton Beach, Newbury & Helsinki). His scientific writing has been actively increasing, including contributions to the textbook Fundamental Neuroscience; co-editing with Edward G. Jones and Lorne Mendell, and contributing to Neuroscience to Neurological Recovery for the Society for Neuroscience (SfN); and co-authoring The Future of Drug Discovery: Who Decides Which Diseases to Treat and Drug Discovery: From Bedside to Wall Street with Tamas Bartfai. He is interested in politics and social aspects of drug discovery. He has a profound ability to translate complex processes and ideas into more simple English that can be widely read. The authors’ previous book Drug Discovery: from Bedside to Wall Street, Elsevier/Academic Press, 2006, has been published in Japanese (Chem-Bio Informatics Society) and Mandarin (Science Press). Their later book’s Japanese and Mandarin editions are in preparation.

Affiliations and Expertise

PhD, Publishing Consultant, Corpus Alienum Oy, Finland


"This book reviews in exquisite detail the drug development process from the initial inception of an idea through the life cycle of a new drug entity. The authors also spend an appropriate amount of time on the role of government-funded research programs along with the role of medium and small biotechnology companies in the drug treatment of diseases…Summing Up: Highly recommended." --CHOICE Reviews Online, December 2013

"Bartfai and Lees describe the looming crisis in health care…They target society in general as their audience, because of the need for the public to understand what is happening and why they should be concerned. The book is a compendium of data and analysis and there are many tables and figures supporting the text." --Reference and Research Book News, August 2013

"A remarkable compendium of hard data and wise prescription for the pharmaceutical industry." --Michael S. Brown, 1985 Novel Laureate in Medicine or Physiology, UT Southwestern Medical Center

"This is an extraordinary, insightful and provocative book that should be read by all those concerned by the progress of biomedicine, from scientists to politicians." --Jean-Pierre Changeux, Collège de France and l’Institut Pasteur

"Bartfai and Lees raise critical issues confronting the search for new medicines.  Their analysis is cogent, and their proposals thoughtful and thought provoking.  For anyone curious about where new medicines come from, and what it will take for the BioPharma industry to bring new treatments to patients with Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and more, this is a must read." --Michael D. Ehlers, Senior VP Pfizer and CSO Neuroscience, former Howard Hughes Investigator, Duke University

"This book is a must read for students, prescribing physicians, academic and industry researchers, analysts, patient groups, business and scien