5 Bioinformatics Tools to Help Speed the R&D Process

Today’s bioinformatics tools can significantly improve time efficiency in the life sciences industry. Image Credit: Flickr user blprnt_van

When it comes to the research and development process for life sciences products—from small molecule drugs to biologics to medical devices—time is of the essence. Speeding up the R&D process is in the best interest of the both the company and the patient. On the most basic level, getting a product through the drug development pipeline faster means that it will get into the hands of the patient sooner, and improving the health and quality of life of the patient is the fundamental motivation for drug development!

There are also lots of other reasons why time efficiency is increasingly important in today’s life science industry. There is growing consumer demand for lower-cost drugs, so for a product to be marketable, it must also be affordable. Time efficiency can reduce overhead costs, making it easier for companies to offer products at lower prices. At the same time, quickly moving one product through the drug development pipeline means that researchers means more time for the next project. Thus, time efficiency supports increased productivity, higher profits, and more high-quality treatment options for the patients who need them.

While it is clear that speeding up the R&D process has never been more important, the fundamental question for pharmaceutical companies remains: how? For the answer, many life science companies are looking to bioinformatics tools. The field of bioinformatics has advanced significantly over the last few years, and today’s tools are making it possible to do high-quality research on a faster time scale than ever before. Read on to learn more about five of the bioinformatics tools that are redefining research possibilities in the life sciences.

Top 5 Bioinformatics Tools for Life Science Researchers

Bioinformatics tools can improve time efficiency at every stage of the R&D process, from initial concept development to the final analysis of clinical trials data. Consider how these five bioinformatics tools can help save time in your lab:

  • Chemical compound registries

Within a chemical compound registry, scientists can add novel chemical structures to a secure database. It is also easy to search these databases and compare structures, so you won’t accidentally duplicate experiments on a compound for which data has already been collected. You also won’t have to waste time paging through old lab notebooks when you want to see how the properties of one compound match up with a similar compound that scientists at the company have explored before.

  • Antibody discovery support platforms

The antibody discovery phase is arguably the most important phase of the R&D process for biotherapeutics. Researchers are challenged to sort through reams of complex data to find the few antibody candidates that may have a chance to make it through the stringent biologics regulatory process. There is no payoff for cutting corners, so many researchers have simply accepted that the process will be slow and time-consuming. However, this easy-to-use bioinformatics tool for antibody discovery makes it possible for scientists to save time assembling relevant sequence and assay information for biologics candidates review. The tool also calculates important antibody properties early in the discovery process, which can reduce the amount of time you have to spend on on experiments down the line.

  • Plate-based assay data aggregation and analysis platforms

One of the most time-consuming aspects of the drug discovery process—both for biotherapeutics and for small molecule drugs—is the analysis and management of plate-based screening data. Advances in high-throughput screening have facilitated unprecedented data generation capabilities that have led to revolutionary discoveries over the last decade, but high-throughput screening has also slowed down the R&D process because it takes so long to sort through all the information. Luckily, the data analysis technology has finally caught up. This bioinformatics tool makes it possible to streamline data evaluation processes without having to worry that you overlooked a key result by moving through too fast.

  • Chemical “sketching” tools

As you probe the properties of a candidate compound, this bioinformatics tool allows you to draw and edit molecules, chemical reactions, and biological sequences in silico. Again, this can cut down on the hours you would otherwise have to dedicate to setting up and running experiments at the bench. With chemical “sketching” tools, you can also quickly share data with collaborators in your lab or across the country, facilitating faster analysis and decision-making processes.

  • General analysis and visualization platforms

No matter where you are in the drug development process, you constantly have to monitor and evaluate the progress of a project. Otherwise, you might miss a red flag that indicates that the proposed drug may not meet the required safety and effectiveness standards to make it all the way through the drug development pipeline. The necessary calculations can take a long time, but this bioinformatics tool makes it easier to aggregate and analyze data so that project can be monitored without stalling. Also, extensive predictive modeling capabilities can be added to the tool, saving time by helping scientists figure out when a drug is not worth developing. It’s always a shame when a product has to be dropped from the drug development pipeline, but the sooner you find out, the better. That way, you won’t waste time on a doomed project, which means you can get started on a successful product sooner—ultimately speeding up your overall R&D process.

If you’re looking to speed up your company’s overall R&D process using a unified suite of bioinformatics tools, BIOVIA offers applications that fall into each of the five categories described above. Check out our research informatics offerings or contact us today for more information!