It takes around 5,000 days to develop a new drug. Shown here is day 463.It takes around 5,000 days to develop a new drug. Shown here is day 463.
The power of small steps
Developing a new drug is an endurance test for researchers, for whom long evenings in the lab and painstaking work are a part of everyday life. The process involved in developing a new drug is slow, and major breakthroughs are rare. Small, repetitive steps over many years are par for the course, and pharmaceutical research is full of hard graft.
Testing and optimising a substance is a process that takes many years, and it is never actually certain that this substance will ever be used to produce an approved drug that can help patients live healthier, better lives.
The hurdle of drug development is followed by many further steps – like finding the right packaging, for example. This is where Vifor Pharma Production Engineer Maëlys Rovetta comes in. “We get involved at an early stage in the development phase to make sure the packaging matches the form of the drug – pill, syrup or gel.”
Her expertise is especially in demand when it comes to the last third of the development process. This is when Maëlys Rovetta works with the team to develop the specific size, shape and material of the packaging for the product in question. “You wouldn’t think packaging could be so complex, but this makes it all the more technically interesting for us engineers.”
In addition to the technical challenge, Maëlys Rovetta and her fellow researchers are always aware of why they do what they do. “It takes all of us – from the chemist, through to me – to make sure patients can collect the products they need from the pharmacy.”
Because after all, the ultimate goal of all research is to improve human health. So whatever it takes, we keep researching.