Biotic Man is Weapon for Speeding Up Drug Discovery

January 20 2009 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 12 Hot

GE announced recently that they were partnering with the Transformational Medical Technology Initiative to develop the Biotic Man, a "physiologically based virtual human."  The collaboration has the backing of the U.S. Dept. of Defense.


The Biotic Man will be based on computer modeling and has the potential to speed up the drug design process significantly.  The project is aimed at providing a quicker response to biological threats on the battlefield and will advance the GE Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic software tool.  The tool employs computational models to measure drug response in the body far in advance of clinical trials.

Though directed primarily at the battlefield, the implications for the drug industry could be significant.  John Graf, the PI for the lab says that "this new software tool also could have broad impact across the pharmaceutical industry, helping to accelerate efforts to develop new drug remedies at substantially reduced costs.”

Computer modeling seems to currently hold the most promise in curtailing development costs by identifying drug failures at earlier stages, well before human testing takes place.  The challenges of modeling the human system are immense but improving tools and processes like this one may begin to chip away at the cost and speed with which compound transforms into viable treatment.

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