Scientists and science in the pharmaceutical industry rely heavily on the more academically orientated basic research carried out at Universities, for first of all training, but also as a source of new ideas and approaches to drug discovery. Progress in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics benefits from a healthy alliance with, and the output from, more basic research institutions, and the reverse is also true, with many advances in understanding of physiological and pathological processes being as the result of the application of novel targeted molecules. To illustrate this, some examples related to the themes of this meeting from my experiences in three different companies will be described. The first involves a metabolic angle in the unravelling of the mechanism of the novel anti-anginal agent ranolazine. The second describes the application of detailed knowledge of insulin structure and action to then use recombinant approaches to design novel molecules to be able to offer the Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetic patient therapies allowing a more physiological treatment regime, and also the further application of learned technology to then discover a means of harnessing the potential of GLP-1 (glucagon-like polypeptide 1) for treating Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. The last illustrates how findings of novel binding sites on glycogen phosphorylase and glucokinase as the result of drug discovery programmes have led to increased understanding of these key metabolic enzymes and also potential new therapies for Type II diabetes.

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