Drug Discovery: The Role of Big Pharmaceutical Companies and the Small Biotechnology Firms and Academic Institutions
Presented by Dr. Smita Mukherjee, Healthcare LIG Director
10 May 2012
5:00 p.m. ESWP
Abstract: The talk will start by providing a detailed description of the traditional drug discovery process practiced by large pharmaceutical companies for decades. However, this traditional method of drug discovery is proving to be increasingly costly due to the inherent inefficiency in identifying drug targets through this process. Therefore, innovative methods are required to initiate paradigm shifts in the in the drug discovery field. Small biotechnology companies and academic institutions are well poised to serve this need for innovation in the drug discovery field. Examples will be provided to show how small firms have utilized limited amount of resources to optimally manage the drug discovery process, and make themselves financially viable. The talk will conclude with a look into the recent phenomenon of successful partnerships between large multinational pharmaceutical companies and small biotechnology firms and universities, and discussing future trends in the drug discovery field.
Biography: Dr. Smita Mukherjee finished her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Hood College, Frederick, MD in 2004 and in the same year she entered University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, as a graduate student, pursuing her PhD studies in the Department of Chemistry. She had a very successful career as a graduate student studying the process of protein folding and misfolding and published numerous first-author papers in peer-reviewed journals with 100+ citations till date. She was conferred her PhD degree in 2009. She then started as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh Medical School focusing on Alzheimer’s disease research. Her current work involves structurally and chemically analyzing the proteins implicated in the Alzheimer’s disease. She has keen interest in furthering interactions between industry and academia in the biotechnology field. Dr. Mukherjee is also a member of Indian Advisory Board of Congressman Jason Altmire, and is an active volunteer for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the charity organization Association for India’s Development.