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Visualisation in Drug Discovery: The Way of the Future

A geographically dispersed drug discovery team whose members are based in Oslo, Toronto and London analyse unimaginably large molecular model data together, at the same time, by visualising virtual molecules in 3D whilst in different offices. As they work, the team is able to make changes to the 3D data in real-time helping them reach a collaborative decision quickly. They are working under enormous pressure to develop an urgently needed new drug and the visualisation technology allows them to reach a marketable cure in record time. World experts can work together easily even though they are based hundreds of thousands of miles apart. Welcome to drug discovery supported by visual area networking.

The entire pharmaceutical discovery process is on the cusp of a visualisation technology revolution involving not only the transformation of large data sets into 3D and even 4D graphical form, but also the real-time manipulation of those images by internationally distributed teams for greatly enhanced decision-making on user-friendly, uncomplicated platforms.

The field of drug discovery has progressed enormously over the past few decades and ground-breaking advances have been made, from the discovery of new anti-infectives to medications that slow the progress of HIV. However more impressive advances are yet to come, with high-performance computing (HPC) paving the way for an even more efficient approach to drug discovery. Supercomputing, visualisation and data storage technologies are dramatically reducing the time it takes to discover new drugs, with the process of drug discovery becoming much more efficient and allowing scientists to collaborate more easily.


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By Dan Stevens, Marketing Manager, Life and Chemical Sciences at SGI

Dan Stevens PhD is Market Manager for Life Sciences at SGI. His responsibilities include developing strategies for SGI's high-performance computing solutions in the chemistry and biotechnology market areas. Dan undertook a clinical speciality in the field of Periodontics and has a PhD in Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining SGI, Dan worked at Procter and Gamble as a Senior Scientist in the department of Regulatory and Clinical Development, where he was responsible for designing clinical trials to demonstrate drug efficacy.

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