In­no­va­tion in the clin­ic is pick­ing up steam. How adap­tive de­signs could pave the road to per­son­al­ized med­i­cine

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Nor­mal­ly, when you hear about in­no­va­tion in R&D, the fo­cus is on the “R” and not the “D.” There’s a ten­den­cy to as­sume that lab-based sci­en­tists do the re­al­ly cre­ative re­search, where­as clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment is a fair­ly straight­for­ward, check-the-box­es ac­tiv­i­ty.

There’s a ker­nel of truth in this oth­er­wise un­fair as­sump­tion. Just as the ba­sic de­sign of a car hasn’t changed much from the cars our grand­par­ents drove — gas and brake ped­als, four tires, and a steer­ing wheel — clin­i­cal tri­als still have time-hon­ored fea­tures like ran­dom­iza­tion, con­trol arms and blind­ing. What is chang­ing, though, is that we’ve be­gun to aug­ment well-es­tab­lished meth­ods with in­no­va­tions that promise to make drug de­vel­op­ment faster, less ex­pen­sive and more suc­cess­ful.

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Vice President

Alexandria Real Estate Equities

San Francisco, CA, USA