Health Watch -- Developing New Drugs

Health Watch is a Public Service of the  Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Have you ever wondered how new medications make it from the laboratory to your pharmacy?

You often hear results of medical research when scientists discover potential new treatments for various diseases or that more research needs to be done, and that it’s possible that the research could result in new drugs to treat the disease.

But once the scientists are through doing that research, how does it turn into a drug your doctor can prescribe? Turning laboratory research into an actual drug takes resources to comply with federal testing, to manufacture the drugs in mass quantities and then to market the drug so the medical community knows it’s available. Most researchers at university medical centers don’t have these resources, and producing and marketing drugs really isn’t their area of expertise. They often partner with private firms to turn their research into medications.

Now UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas is teaming up with a new pharmaceutical company, Reata Discovery Inc., which is a public-private partnership designed to bring laboratory discoveries from UT Southwestern and UT’s MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to market. This firm will allow scientists, clinical doctors and administrators to work together to bring exciting scientific discoveries to doctors so they can treat patients.

The researchers are focusing on treatments for different forms of cancer, as well as neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.