First, let’s get one thing straight. There is no “crisis.”
Now that Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Sanofi have either scaled back or (in the case of GSK and AZ) abandoned any further Central Nervous System (CNS) R&D, the hand-wringing has begun, with distinguished professors like Dr. Steven E. Hyman writing alarmist editorials about the imperiled future of psych meds and articles in the media talking of a “crisis” in psych-med research. (The opening sentence of a recent editorial in Schizophrenia Bulletin was: “Psychopharmacology is in crisis.” The headline of Dr. Hyman’s piece is “Psychiatric Drug Development: Diagnosing a Crisis.”)
First, let’s get one thing straight. There is no “crisis.” A review of the new-drug pipeline shows that 137 active R&D programs have 417 ongoing development projects aimed at 19 psychiatric indications. Most of these programs are in Phase I or II trials. Psych-med R&D is more vigorous than ever.
The widely reported shutdown of CNS research programs at GSK and AZ (and the scale-backs at Pfizer and elsewhere) represent the continuation of a process begun long ago, to outsource riskier types of development to academia (which gets funding from the drug companies as well as government, via NIH and NMIH) and to smaller, less risk-averse drug companies (including startups) who eventually sell their projects back to the giant pharmas, once it looks like they’ve “got something.”
But the whole notion that a GSK or an AstraZeneca can convert R&D dollars into brand-new, never-tried-before, fundamentally innovative psych meds is ridiculous in the first place, because that’s not how development of new treatments works. You can only develop a targeted drug when you know the precise biochemical mechanism of action of the underlying disease. That’s not the case for depression, schizophrenia, or any of the other major psychiatric illnesses. As H. Christian Fibiger correctly points out in his Schizophrenia Bulletin piece:
The discovery of all three major classes of psychiatric drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics, came about on the basis of serendipitous clinical observation. At the time of their discoveries, the mechanisms by which these molecules produce their effects were unknown, and it was only later that antipsychotics were shown to be D2 receptor antagonists, antidepressants monoamine reuptake inhibitors, and anxiolytics GABA receptor modulators. It is interesting and perhaps instructive to consider whether any of these classes of drugs could have been discovered by current drug discovery strategies. For example, what genetic or preclinical data exist that point to the D2 dopamine receptor as a likely target for antipsychotic activity? Presently there are no genetic data that suggest that this receptor is expressed or functions abnormally in psychotic disorders. And without the benefit of the prior clinical validation, it is difficult to see how preclinical data alone would point to the D2 receptor as an interesting potential target for the treatment of psychotic disorders. The same can be said for monoamine transporters with respect to depression where, like psychosis, there are no animal models based on disease pathophysiology and no compelling preclinical data pointing to these as potential targets for antidepressant drugs.
The best Big Pharma has been able to do over the years is craft me-too drugs once a serendipitous discovery has been made. But the serendipitous discoveries themselves (such as John Cade‘s discovery that injecting Guinea pigs with lithium urate made them placid) can’t be manufactured; they can’t be bought. They happen by accident.
The Latest Bing News on:
Psychiatric Drug Development
- A new drug to treat the positive and negative symptoms of schizophreniaon September 23, 2022 at 3:52 am
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder that can affect an individual ... has announced positive results from their clinical trials on a new drug that aims to treat both positive and negative ...
- Cannabis use during pregnancy could hurt baby into the teenage yearson September 22, 2022 at 10:00 am
Researchers continue to learn more about the adverse mental effects to babies from cannabis use during pregnancy ...
- Delix Therapeutics Expands World-Class Team with First Head of R&Don September 22, 2022 at 5:00 am
Delix Therapeutics Expands World-Class Team with First Head of R&D Sep 22, 2022 (PRNewswire via COMTEX) -- PR Newswire BOSTON, Sept. 22, 2022 Experienced ...
- Researchers Studying Psychedelic Drug as Treatment for Alzheimer’s Diseaseon September 21, 2022 at 10:27 am
A Toronto-based biotech company is studying a psychedelic drug based on DMT as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease with a Phase ll clinical trial in Argentina.
- Science needs to move beyond luck if it is to design better drugs for the brainon September 21, 2022 at 7:31 am
Add in neurological disorders such as epilepsy, brain tumours, stroke, migraines, wasting diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als) and so on and you have another 600 problems seated in the ...
- Xpira Pharmaceuticals Inc. Receives FDA Approval For Psilocybin Trial IND Applicationon September 20, 2022 at 5:22 am
PRNewswire/ - Xpira Pharmaceuticals ('Xpira' or 'the Company'), a leading developer of next-generation psychedelic ...
- Why women with serious mental illness often get worse care than menon September 17, 2022 at 4:05 am
treated less effectively with psychiatric drugs, and face discrimination and stigma by medical professionals who diagnose them and oversee their care. The pandemic likely made a bad situation ...
- $10 Million Spent on Psychiatric Research on Mice, Fish, Songbirds, and Monkeys Fails to Find Cause of Depressionon September 16, 2022 at 2:21 pm
CCHR reviews psychiatric research in light of the “chemical imbalance causes depression” theory being debunked, but finds millions of dollars being wasted studying animal brains in a failed attempt to ...
- Inside the UK’s new psychedelic drug trial clinic trying to treat depression and anxietyon September 14, 2022 at 11:00 pm
Interest in psilocybin as treatment is growing, and this month Europe’s first commercial facility for psychedelic trials opens in London ...
- Researchers Say Psychiatrists Should Shape Patients’ Morality, But Psychiatrists’ Own Medical Ethics Are Questionedon September 13, 2022 at 4:01 pm
Exposure of psychiatrists’ widespread promotion of misleading chemical imbalance theory which lacks scientific evidence, calls their moral values into question. WASHINGTON, DC, US, September 13, 2022/ ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Psychiatric Drug Development
The Latest Bing News on:
Drug research and development
- No, AI probably won’t revolutionize drug developmenton September 24, 2022 at 11:00 am
Claims that artificial intelligence will change the way drugs are made are almost certainly overblown. Here’s why ...
- Progesterone Market Size to Grow by USD 1.23 Billion, Rise in Research and Development of Progesterone Drugs -Technavioon September 23, 2022 at 2:00 pm
One of the key trends in the progesterone market is the rise in research and development of progesterone drugs. Various players are expanding their research to develop new formulations of the existing ...
- New research finds that viruses may have 'eyes and ears' on uson September 23, 2022 at 12:42 pm
New UMBC-led research in Frontiers in Microbiology suggests that viruses are using information from their environment to "decide" when to sit tight inside their hosts and when to multiply and burst ...
- The mRNA vaccine transformed Pfizer. Here's how the biopharma giant plans to retain its new 'light-speed mentality' and create drugs faster.on September 23, 2022 at 12:21 pm
The COVID-19 vaccine unlocked the potential of mRNA technology and new ways of approaching problems, a senior vice president told Insider.
- Gout Drugs Market 2022 Latest Research, Top Impacting Factors, Growth Strategies and Forecast to 2027on September 23, 2022 at 5:56 am
Sep 23, 2022 (The Expresswire) -- "Gout Drugs Market" valuation is Projected to reach USD 2817.6 Mn USD by 2027, From 2408.4 Mn USD In 2022, with ...
- Isotretinoin Drugs Market : Research Report Analysis by Competitors, Sales, Revenue and Industry Size 2022 To 2027on September 23, 2022 at 5:46 am
Sep 23, 2022 (The Expresswire) -- "Isotretinoin Drugs Market" valuation is Projected to reach 1314.9 Mn USD by 2027, From 1157.7 Mn USD In 2022, at a CAGR ...
- AI-based drug screening process could speed up the development of life-saving medicineson September 22, 2022 at 9:04 pm
Developing life-saving medicines can take billions of dollars and decades of time, but University of Central Florida researchers are aiming to speed up this process with a new artificial ...
- Universities say use of 1980 law to control drug prices could stifle ag researchon September 21, 2022 at 9:33 am
University researchers are opposing an effort to lower pharmaceutical prices through use of a law that has spurred the commercialization of agricultural technology as well as lifesaving drugs.
- Pfizer Invests $20M In Israeli Drug Development Startupon September 20, 2022 at 5:40 am
CytoReason collects pharmaceutical data to simulate human diseases allowing it to make data-driven decisions quickly and cost effectively.
- Bugworks Research Inc. and Cytecare Cancer Hospitals announce collaboration to accelerate the development of cutting-edge Immuno-oncology therapieson September 18, 2022 at 8:30 pm
Bugworks Research Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, and Cytecare Cancer Hospitals today announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind collaboration. Bugworks develops best-in-class, ...