Computational biology tools are regarded as key to improving the productivity of the drug discovery process and introducing the efficiency of high-level computations to biology, which has been largely unaffected by the 'in-silico' revolution.
"Although many teething technical problems and lack of quality data are currently restraining uptake, the expected shift of ongoing research efforts from the academic to the commercial arena in the near future will definitely support greater use of these tools in the drug discovery process," remarks Frost & Sullivan Drug Discovery Technologies Analyst, Raghavendra Chitta.
Computational biology is emerging as the ultimate means of effectively integrating data and enabling accurate comparison of the information derived from discrete data sets.
In addition, predictive models based on the systems approach of computational biology tools have enhanced their value for drug discovery purposes.
The increased yield of compounds triggered by high-throughput systems coupled with the urgent need to increase drug productivity is placing a premium on the use of computational biology tools by drug discovery firms.
"The rewards of a drug discovery program with a tightly integrated in-silico simulation system are astounding, with the ability to prioritise, validate and eliminate targets at a very early stage in drug discovery," notes Mr. Chitta.
"The elimination of false leads at an early stage rather than at the clinical trial stage can offer savings amounting to nearly US$200-US$300 million."
This US$60.0 million market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.5 per cent from 2004-2011 to reach US$751.8 million.
Of the four primary segments - pathway modelling and simulation, tissue modelling and simulation, cellular modelling and simulation as well as disease modelling and simulation - it is the latter, which will have the highest growth potential.
Currently representing just under half of overall market revenues, disease modelling and simulation will register an impressive CAGR of 54.5 per cent from 2004-2011.
Europe is making strong strides with a host of new initiatives including the EMI-CD project at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics as well as the European Union-supported COMBIO and EUSYSBIO projects.
"In addressing this issue, companies need to work on generating success stories by developing an in-house compound and taking it till the commercial phase," advises Mr. Chitta.
"Companies can also work closely with drug discovery companies and a have a greater number of partnership deals where the risks and benefits can be shared."