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With drug development costs topping $1.2bn (£850 million) to get a single treatment to the point it can be sold and used in the clinic, could genetic analysis save hundreds of millions of dollars? According to a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology this week, genetic research in large-scale prospective biobank studies can significantly improve the drug development pipeline and reduce costs.

New treatments are discovered by exploring biological pathways that cause disease but can be modified by drugs. The route from the basic biology to large-scale randomized trials in humans is long and expensive – estimated at over $1.2 billion to get one product to market. In part, that cost is because the route to a successful drug is littered with those that have fallen by the wayside at various points during development. However, a study of one such unsuccessful drug has pointed to a way that could reduce costs.

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