The dream of getting to cures, faster, is one shared by many. But every new instrument we’ve invented to examine the human body has shown us only more complexity and interconnection. The failure of all of our new technologies to translate rapidly into drugs has demonstrated that we’re the folks in the parking lot looking under the lamppost for our keys not because that’s where they might be, but because that’s where the light is.
In tandem with the explosion of technologies to query the body (genome, protein, metabolite, and more), we’ve seen an explosion in organizational models for pharmaceutical companies. Reorganizations around therapeutic area, or around development pipeline steps, or around technological elements, have been tried. None have broken the complexity of the body, and thus none have truly shortened the time and cost of getting a drug to market. It’s still 17 years and a billion dollars, give or take.