It takes an average over 12 years to bring a promising compound from the research laboratory to the doctor’s surgery. Discovery and development costs for a new medicines are typically about £1.15 billion. For every marketed medicine, on average 5,000 - 10,000 chemical compounds will have been made; 10 - 20 of these will have undergone pre-clinical testing; 5 - 10 will have gone into clinical trials and only one will have proved to be sufficiently safe and effective to become a marketed medicine.
Combinatorial chemistry and high-throughout screening that allow many thousands of compounds to be tested in a relatively short time, have been used to try to find potential new medicines, but results have been disappointing and finding a molecule with the right therapeutic and safety profile is still a long and difficult task.
For more information on the wide variety of careers within the industry, visit Working in the industry.
I get to travel a lot – I went to the USA twice last year and the year before, and I have also been to lots of different European cities.