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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, February 2, 2007

Predicting which drugs will make it

To develop more successful drugs, you have to look at both the winners and the losers. But that means drug companies need to share their gold mine of information on unsuccessful medicines, two researchers from Children's Hospital Boston's Informatics Program say.

Based on information about failed drugs, Dr. Asher D. Schachter and Marco F. Ramoni say they can predict which drugs in early development will be safe and effective.

They make that case in the February Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, saying their model could help save $283 million per approved drug.

"Suppressing negative data harms everyone," Schachter said. "Companies could reduce drug development costs and pass on some of those savings to the consumer."

Schachter and Ramoni just founded Phorecaster, a consulting business that has no customers or profits yet.

Schachter, a pediatric nephrologist, said to create their forecasting model they looked at data about early-stage drugs described in publications from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development and other public sources.

They were able to predict success in phase 3 trials and new-drug-application approval with 78 percent accuracy, they said.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 02:31 PM
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