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The accelerating pace of biomedical advance 

The accelerating pace of biomedical advance
The accelerating pace of biomedical advance

Richard Barker

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date: 06 June 2020

Bioscience has progressed exponentially, in scientific advances and enabling technology. From quicker and much cheaper gene sequencing to the emergence of data-mining tools, the last 20 years has been unprecedented in exploitable advances brought by research. We have the tools and insights to trace disease from underlying genetics and epigenetics, through proteins that represent intervention options, to ways to create molecules, diagnostics, and devices based on those insights. The life sciences enterprise, once largely confined to Europe, the USA, and Japan, is now seeing major investment from emerging economies. We should be poised to reap the benefits of this rising tide of research with lives transformed and health systems revolutionized. However, the two million biological science papers published annully results in about 14 000 patents, only 5000 drugs in the pipeline, and a mere 30 or so actual medicines. Translation of life sciences research into usable products is hugely inefficient.

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