Research and Development (R&D) covers the initial search for a molecule to treat the disease, through to having a product ready to market.
The pharmaceutical industry is the most research-intensive business sector in the UK, with £4.1 billion spent on research and development in 2016 alone. This accounts for almost a quarter of total UK expenditure on R&D.
The scientific endeavour to find new leads in innovative medicines has never been more efficient nor fast. The process is exciting and stimulating despite often taking years. It can be frustrating at times, but when that one compound that might eventually make it out on to the market is discovered, the satisfaction is unbelievable. Most of this work is carried out by scientists, mainly biologists and chemists, with a variety of specialist qualifications in, for example, toxicology, pharmacology, genetics, statistics, mathematical modelling and animal technology.
The many disciplines may seem bewildering at first, but take the time to browse and find out how you could have a role to play in the development of a new medicine, using the links at the side of the page.