A pharma company is developing a drug for a specific medical usage. After ten cost-intensive years of research, testing and design, the drug is finally brought to market. The ten years of knowledge accumulation related to the development of this drug is typically stored in internal proprietary reports that become dormant — and in effect forgotten — after a certain employee lifecycle.
It would clearly be in the company’s interest to preserve this knowledge in order to reuse it in other drug-design contexts. What’s more, when this drug is on the market, many people taking it may experience certain side effects, which they are increasingly likely to share on social media platforms such as blogs and patient forums.
Eventually, and sometimes rather quickly, a considerable body of knowledge can accumulate in these channels. However, this data can be difficult to extract and analyze because it exists in natural language and may not be expressed in conventional medical terms. Nevertheless, the common side effects described in these online discussions could provide valuable insights for repurposing the drug to treat other medical conditions.
And it’s completely free! Online channels of this kind are a gratuitous source of vital clinical knowledge and information that, although difficult to extract, could harbor a wealth of valuable information for the pharma company.