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Fine-Tuning the Reaction: Pharma Embraces Contract Chemistry

Bromination? Diazotization? Oxidation? Methylation?

Niche chemistry is critical to the success of most therapeutics – whether it’s a cardiovascular, anti-fungal, anti-emetic, CNS, Parkinson’s or other drug. Pharmaceutical companies continue to increase the share of chemistry work outsourced to contract firms or partners. This is a trend that’s expected to continue as the pharma industry further relinquishes R&D and other core tasks to outsourced providers or partners, tapping external expertise while minimizing cost.

Pharma Industry Embraces Outsourcing…Including Core Tasks

Historically, cost savings were the prime driver in deciding to outsource – but this has shifted as drug development and manufacturing has grown more complex, more costly and more expertise-driven. In fact, pharmaceutical firms have so fully embraced outsourcing that even core functions like drug discovery are no longer guaranteed to be performed in-house.

Here in India, the impact of this shift in thinking continues to be felt. India’s status as a global leader in generics, clinical research and contract manufacturing continues – and is now complemented by the rise of contract drug discovery research.

A recent article at (Increased Challenges For Pharma Foster Closer Partner Relationships) discussed challenges facing pharma and biopharma companies today, and their shift towards reliance on outsourcing partners:

“One trend we have seen is an increased customer interest for deeper and more strategic partnerships.  Innovative partnerships and alliances are critical to the health and success of the industry and, in turn, to bringing new therapies to patients. Biopharma companies collaborate with service providers to help them maximize efficiencies, improve clinical success rates and turn fixed costs into variable costs.”

More Complex Medicinal Chemistry

Much like with pharmacology, microbiology & molecular biology, medicinal chemistry and biochemistry are becoming more and more complex – and both research and production techniques are continuously evolving. With more synthetic tools available than ever before, vast amounts of data collection and analysis must be performed to make accurate decisions regarding compounds.

This has made the decision to outsource pharma chemistry much simpler for many life science companies: contract firms tend to be at the cutting edge of research and process development techniques, working with multiple industry players on numerous chemistry-heavy projects. Why should your company face the challenge of acquiring and scaling highly-specific advanced chemistry expertise in-house, especially if it’s outside of your company’s core expertise?

Contract Chemistry – Expertise on Tap

At Neuland, we’ve found that a strong CMC program which interacts and works together amongst all drug discovery and commercialization stages (e.g., discovery, development, manufacturing, regulatory) is the key to success. In this case, information truly is knowledge – and the most valuable type of knowledge is shared knowledge amongst everyone on the team responsible for a drug candidate’s progression and success.

What have you discovered works best when outsourcing chemistry research?


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