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The pharmaceutical and bio-technical industries are drastically modifying their research strategy to improve the efficiency of investments: previously, compounds were rationally designed using known structural relationships, whereas the new trend is to rapidly screen hundreds of thousands of compounds for their biological activity. Hence, large investments have been made in technologies such as high-throughput screening and combinatorial chemistry that create floods of data to be subsequently analysed and manipulated for their biological activity or function. Methods were required to store, sort, compare, and analyse large amounts of biological data. As these methods are provided by information technology the interdisciplinary field of bio-informatics was born. Hence, bio-informatics is essential for the interpretation and utilisation of biological data, which leads for instance to drug discovery, compound design or the elucidation of diseases.

For international competitiveness in pharmaceutics and biotechnology it is therefore vital to keep pace with these fast progressing developments in bio-informatics and the related technologies. In order to strengthen European competitiveness it is important to find measures which support-the progress of developments in bio-informatics and related technologies in Europe. At the same time, one has to be aware of the fact, that these new technologies and methods are changing procedures and common practices of research ('research culture') in pharmaceutics, biotechnology and medical sciences. This new research culture might have a significant impact on society.

Additional information

Authors: DUX P, VDI Technology Centre (DE);MOILLE F, ADIT-Agency for Diffusion of Technological Information (FR)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19524 EN (1999), 44pp, Euro: free of charge
Availability: Available from the European Commission, DG XII Communication Unit, rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200, B-1049 Bruxelles (BE) Tel: +32-2-2950001 Fax:+32-2-2958220
ISBN: ISBN: Not available
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