Small Molecules Still Out in Front

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Although many companies do not publicise trials, the available evidence shows that biologics are still lagging behind traditional small molecules in the drug development stakes. An analysis published by DrugResearcher of drugs entering clinical trials in 2007 showed that more than twice as many small molecules as biologics made it to first time in man. Although biologics are likely to make up an increasing proportion of new products, there will still be areas where small molecules can achieve better results. Biologics work primarily on disease targets outside the cell, whereas small molecules can also work inside cells. In any therapeutic area, ignoring the intracellular targets may prove costly.


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