In Silico Drug Discovery: Drug Discovery Operations in COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to throw the global economy into recession, with loss of trillions of dollars. The pharmaceutical industry cannot escape the brunt of the circumstances as well. In fact, according to a survey, 95% of healthcare industry professionals are worried about the impact the pandemic is likely to have on the industry. So far, there is no approved drug to curb the menace caused by the virus. While several agents are being investigated under clinical trials or being used under compassionate use protocols, efficacy has not been established for any drug. In silico drug discovery solutions can be a potential answer to these challenges, enabling the war against the virus.

Computational / In Silico Drug Discovery: A Boon in Disguise for Faster Drug Discovery Operations Amidst COVID-19

Drug discovery and development is a complex and tedious process requiring significant amount of time and resources. In fact, on an average, the entire drug development process (from initial proof-of-concept to commercial launch) takes around 10-15 years and capital investments worth USD 4-10 billion to develop a drug from concept to commercial launch. The early stages of research, specifically the discovery of a specific molecular target and lead molecule, plays an important role in the pharmaceutical contract manufacturing processes. However, despite the advances in technology and improved understanding of biological systems, the drug discovery process is still considered to be complex, expensive, lengthy  and inefficient. The world definitely cannot wait for so long to get a cure for the drug.

Recent Advances: In Silico Drug Discovery and COVID-19 Research

Today, the entire world is struggling with the urgent need development of vaccine / drug for the treatment of COVID-19. The adoption of computer aided drug discovery (CADD) tools / in silico drug discovery approaches may definitely prove to be a capable weapon in such testing times, owing to their benefits related to time-, money-, and labor saving. The adoption of such techniques has shown to help the drug developers in selecting potential lead candidates, having the desired physiochemical and pharmacokinetic properties, without having to conduct extensive screening procedures.

In fact, researchers are using CADD and high-throughput drug screening to identify drug candidates for COVID-19. Similarly supercomputers have demonstrated the potential to escalate the discovery timeline of vaccines, which is the need of the hour. Recently in May 2020, a team of researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University (Germany) have identified hepatitis C drugs that could help fight COVID-19 by molecular docking method using world’s most powerful supercomputers. Earlier, in April 2020, a group of researchers used CADD tools to identify N3—a mechanism-based inhibitor of the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2. Further, gold standard force fields using CADD are also reported to help identify promising peptides to disrupt COVID-19.

Service Providers Offering In Silico Drug Discovery Services for Large Molecules

Over 90 firms are actively involved in providing in silico services for drug discovery of different types of biologics; of these, over 30 players claim to have the capabilities to offer services for all steps of discovery for multi-target drug design.

Computational / In Silico Drug Discovery: A Boon in Disguise for Faster Drug Discovery Operations Amidst COVID-19

Which Company Has an Edge Over Other Companies?

With so many players in the market, it may become baffling to decide on which company would serve your purpose. Some companies do have advantages over other competitors, in terms of their experience, service portfolio and number and type of biologics for which services are being offered. With the intention to develop a better understanding of the overall potential and capabilities of industry players involved in this domain, we carried out a company competitiveness analysis of the various stakeholders across different geographies.

Computational / In Silico Drug Discovery: A Boon in Disguise for Faster Drug Discovery Operations Amidst COVID-19

To know about the CROs that claim to offer in silico drug discovery services for biologics, check out our report here

What is the Regional Distribution of Service Providers?

More than 70% of these companies are small and mid-sized firms. Further, close to 60% of the CROs engaged in this domain, claim to provide services to both pharmaceutical companies and academic institutes. Nearly 80% of in silico drug discovery service providers are based in the developed geographies. This can be attributed to the relatively high adoption of the in silico approach by players based in Europe and North America. On the other hand, there are companies that are using this approach for drug discovery operations, in emerging regions, such as India and China, as well.

Computational / In Silico Drug Discovery: A Boon in Disguise for Faster Drug Discovery Operations Amidst COVID-19


The COVID-19 outbreak has put the whole world under chaos and taken a toll on the pharmaceutical industry and the health sector at large. All potential candidates are being investigated to find a breakthrough that would put a chain to the pandemic. In such global crisis, computer aided drug discovery market may prove to be a viable option to identify lead compounds at the earliest and get the potential leads into trials.

To get detailed insights about this market, you can also download the SAMPLE REPORT on in silico drug discovery by Roots Analysis

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