Managing Small Molecule, Peptide and Protein-Based Drug R&D in the Same Company

The bio/pharmaceutical company that has the resources to discover and develop both types of drugs will inevitably face the challenge of organizing these activities.   Both pursuits engage the same stages of Discovery and Development and face the same generic issues at the project level.  Within the stages, some of the issues will be different (e.g. immunogenicity, oral bioavailability), and more of the strategies and processes will vary.  At the corporate level the  similarities argue for a blended organization where the differences are managed in line departments and played out on the specific project teams.   All things being equal, the blended organization can take advantage of similarities between projects and targets.

In a resource constrained environment, the blended organization may develop biases about adequately resourcing one or the other approach. Within a bio/pharmaceutical company in earlier eras when the number of biologic approvals were few, the champions of small molecule drugs would challenge the value of  allocating resources to protein-based drug discovery and development.    It has only been in the last ten years that the number of biologics approvals has begun to rival small molecule drug approvals (see link below).   Senior managers may need to protect resources for the less favored approach by forming separate divisions each devoted to the exclusive pursuit of small molecule, peptide or protein-based drugs.   Managers may want to avoid splitting platform technologies that serve both divisions, to avoid wasteful resource duplication.


We have developed a whitepaper, entitled “Managing Risk and Value in Bio/pharmaceutical R&D”. Please go to Services Provided and read more about this whitepaper under “Whitepapers, eBooks and Webinars on Discovery Management from James Samanen Consulting“.