Pharmaceutical analysis is always advancing to improve drug discovery and safety. It’s a branch of chemistry that deals with studying compounds to find, create, or test drugs. These scientists help keep people safe from dangerous chemicals while improving public health. As you might expect, this process can be challenging, so the industry is always looking for new technologies and techniques to improve itself. Here are five of the top pharmaceutical trends driving the sector today.
Discovering new drugs or ensuring current ones are safe can be a long, complicated process. At the same time, chemists want to move through the steps quickly to help people sooner. Automation can help speed up the process without compromising safety or quality.
Automatic data recording is one of the most helpful developments in lab automation. Chemists record everything to ensure experiments are accurate and repeatable, but doing so manually is slow and inconvenient. With new technologies, the tools they use can automatically record and organise this data, saving a lot of time.
Another advantage of automation is that robots and computers tend to be more precise than people. As a result, automation has led to more accurate results in drug research. People make mistakes, so using machines to run tests can prevent errors.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing trend across nearly every industry. You probably have an IoT device or two in your own home. In pharmaceutical analysis, these gadgets can help keep labs productive and safe.
One of the most significant use cases of the IoT in pharmaceuticals is smart personal protective equipment (PPE). There can be roughly 400 hazardous chemicals in a laboratory, but many workers forgo proper PPE. The IoT can monitor whether employees are actually using them, helping enforce safety regulations.
IoT connectivity in the lab also lets researchers control or monitor machinery remotely. Connected sensors can also alert lab workers if there’s a mechanical error they should address. This kind of transparency and accessibility helps employees stay as productive as possible, leading to faster, more accurate results.
It’s hard to think of an industry that artificial intelligence (AI) hasn’t affected. Unsurprisingly, AI is one of the fastest-growing and exciting pharmaceutical trends today. Machine learning models can revolutionise drug discovery, helping chemists find potential new treatments faster than ever.
AI can simulate how different drugs would interact with a virus or other pathogen, finding potential treatments. Similarly, it can predict possible side effects in patients. AI-based decision-making like this helped Moderna develop their COVID-19 vaccine in record time.
Since AI automates and speeds up so much of the drug discovery process, it can also lower costs. Some reports estimate that AI could curb expenses by 70%, making vital medications far more affordable. While using this technology in pharmaceuticals is still a new trend, these benefits are helping it skyrocket.
Tech everywhere is getting smaller, and in pharmaceutical analysis, it’s getting microscopic. Nanotechnology, which is tech smaller than 1,000 nanometers, is a relatively new field for chemists but a growing one. Tools this small can detect changes in individual molecules, making research far more precise.
When scientists can manipulate chemicals on a molecular level, it opens a whole new world of possibilities. With less precise systems, researchers may not be able to change one part of a solution without affecting the rest. Nanotechnology also helps lab workers separate solutions into smaller parts to analyse the components individually.
Some researchers are looking into using nanotech for drug delivery, too. If technology could deliver medication through microscopic tools, it could remove the need for shots.
One of the less obvious recent pharmaceutical trends is a greater emphasis on cybersecurity. These companies and laboratories are valuable targets for cybercriminals, and they know it. In a recent survey, 70% of pharma companies said that cyber-threats are one of their top concerns.
Labs rely on technology, so a cyberattack could cause a lot of damage. As the threat of state-sponsored cyberattacks rises, this is a growing concern. Since the pharmaceutical industry is so massive, a successful attack could be profitable for the hackers.
Given these threats, pharmaceutical analysis companies across the globe have ramped up their cybersecurity. With more advanced security tools, these organisations can stay safe, keeping clients safe, too.
Pharmaceutical Analysis Is Always Evolving
In an industry like pharmaceutical analysis, new technologies and practices can save lives. As such, change and advancement is standard in the sector. These five trends are just a small example of how medicine is moving forward for everyone’s benefit.
Written by Emily Newton, science and technology journalist, Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized Magazin.