Bringing the Power of HPC to Drug Discovery
It is estimated that there are over 1050 chemical molecules in the universe. This means that an almost
infinite number of medicines can be crafted from them. Today, humans are facing a tremendous challenge in
the form of new diseases. While we are yet to find cures for them, we are also troubled by older diseases. It has become evident that, going forward, we will need to hasten the pace of development and decrease the costs so that patients can get benefited. High Performance Computing (HPC) or supercomputing is one of the technical tools that can achieve both these objectives. Every stage of the pharmaceutical process uses HPC in some way or other. While certain processes like clinical trials and regulatory related processes cannot be hurried, the discovery process can be significantly reduced. The discovery phase accounts for almost half the time in the entire process in most cases. Hence, judicious usage of HPC can help companies to cut the drug discovery process by half. Every day you spend discovering drugs adds to the cost and any
reduction in time has a direct impact on the expense incurred. Many drug discovery projects have been shelved after several years of development because of side effects in animal testing. One solution offered by
HPC is profiling the products and taking more probable molecules in the first place – this can save tons of
green bucks. Before the pre-clinical development, HPC can help in the identification and optimisation of new molecular entities by computational methods. By focusing on the probable molecules, the success rate of wet lab investigations increases substantially.
As a result, what took weeks or even months before can now be achieved in a matter of days if not hours. While HPC promises many benefits, there is one issue- acquiring a HPC facility would require core competency that is different from the traditional expertise that a pharmaceutical organisation possesses. It will also require investment in an infrastructure which gets obsolete quickly. There are also challenges in terms of managing the power and cooling requirements and a trained workforce is required to maintain and oversee effective utilization. HPC on Cloud based solutions eliminate a lot of management problems and shift spending from a capital to an operational model. These solutions are available on demand and with flexible pricing, available to both enterprises and individual customers. The service can be used for few hours or even for months and is accessible anytime, anywhere .These may also be available as personalised services
having an infrastructure and human interface as opposed.
One solution offered by HPC is profiling the products and taking more probable molecules in the first place-this can save tons of green bucks.