By Jörg Sprengel, Ph.D.
Each year, tremendous resources are invested in research and development (R&D) to help eradicate or mitigate the devastating effects of rare or incurable illnesses, and inoculate us against the health threats of tomorrow.
Researchers estimate that it takes an average investment of $1.3 billion and more than a decade of work to bring a new pharmaceutical product to market. Yet 60 percent of R&D projects fail to bring a new products and treatments to fruition for a variety of reasons. Some fail to meet specific safety criteria, while others are proven ineffective. In other cases, study results are contradictory, making it difficult to verify or replicate findings. And let’s not forget the need for critical regulatory safeguards to test new products for safety and efficacy. In fact, regulation poses a steep threshold for market entry that can sometimes hold investors back from exploring new frontiers and products.
But what if the process could be faster, cheaper, and more efficient?
If we could verify scientific findings with more speed and reliability, we could decrease the time and cost of healthcare R&D. And if we could decrease the time and cost of R&D, we could lower the threshold for companies to investigate new treatments, therapies, and diagnostic tools, ultimately creating more jobs and speeding medical breakthroughs to the patients who are counting on them.
To that end, IBM’s Institute for Business Value recently released new research on a systematic approach to verify scientific findings. The approach creates a trusted, value-based business model based on crowd sourcing that can help innovators mitigate risks, reduce costs and accelerate the timeline to market.
While traditional peer review and empirical evaluation of scientific claims will always play an important role in the medical innovation process, an objective and systematic approach to verify complex scientific findings and claims and confirm safety and efficacy earlier in the R&D process would mean faster ROI for investors, and faster cures for patients.
Healthcare systems and providers seek solutions to provide patients with more holistic, smarter care through integration of critical technologies. Likewise, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers can leverage the power of big data, analytics and cognitive computing to implement a more reliable, systems-based approach to biological data verification.
The results, we believe, would be healthier patients, and healthier economies.