AstraZeneca demonstrates commitment to predictive science at international modelling conference

The 2011 American Conference of Pharmacometrics (ACOP) got underway this weekend with attendees from around the world converging on San Diego, US – including a delegation and dedicated exhibition team from AstraZeneca.

Now in its third year, the four-day conference is an international event dedicated to pharmacometrics. Seen as a relatively new and highly-specialised science, a major focus of pharmacometrics is on variability in drug response – exploring and helping to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between treatment, changes in levels of drugs in the body, and patient outcomes. Pharmacometricians use models based on pharmacology, physiology and disease to measure and analyse interactions between drugs and patients. Using this model-based approach to drug development enables us to predict the doses of medicines most likely to work most effectively for patients, with the fewest risks.

Speaking at the start of the conference, AstraZenenca’s head of model-based drug development, Eva Bredberg said:

“As an international scientific community we are conscious that the industry has a poor track record in being able to predict successes and quantify the risks connected to each compound. We need to use tools that can help us to make decisions based on quantitative, integrated information.

“AstraZeneca is committed to growing this capability – not only in terms of capacity but in leading the way in using it in drug development. This conference will help to establish better connections between scientists from industry, academia and regulatory bodies. Working together to share experience and refine the areas of pharmacometrics into where it can add most value and contribute to smart drug development will help us to meet our goal of bringing life-changing new medicines to patients.”

Model-based drug development is a key component of AstraZeneca’s predictive science programme – one of four strategic research and development capabilities the organisation has prioritised. We believe that investing in growing these capabilities will enhance our excellent science and allow us to go even further – as a business, and for our customers and patients.

Predictive science is the collective name for a range of specialist scientific disciplines. As its name suggests, it focuses on indicating the most likely effects and outcomes. It does this by combining all the information available to us and applying highly-specialised technology, equipment and methods such as modelling and simulation to answer critical questions in the drug discovery and development process.

“I am delighted that we are able to have a presence at this crucial event,” said Professor Andrew Hughes, who has been charged with leading the predictive science build programme at AstraZeneca.

“It is an excellent opportunity for the modelling community to come together, share experience and to develop the field. For us, it is also an important demonstration of our commitment to this area of expertise. We want to send a strong message to the scientific community, to our customers and to patients: we are making a huge investment in the predictive sciences at AstraZeneca because we believe it can make a huge difference.”