The drug development process is a complex and multi-faceted process that involves several steps and can take many years to complete. Here is a general overview of the drug development process:
Discovery and preclinical research: In this stage, researchers identify and test potential new drugs in the laboratory and in animal models. This stage can take several years and involves a wide range of techniques, including computer modeling, cell culture studies, and animal testing.
Investigational New Drug (IND) application: If the results of the preclinical studies are promising, the sponsor of the drug (typically a pharmaceutical company) submits an IND application to the regulatory agency (such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)) to request permission to test the drug in humans. The IND application includes data from the preclinical studies as well as a plan for the clinical trial.
Clinical trials: If the IND application is approved, the drug enters the clinical trial phase. Clinical trials are conducted in three phases: Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3. Phase 1 trials involve a small group of healthy volunteers or patients and are designed to determine the safety and side effects of the drug. Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials involve larger groups of patients and are designed to evaluate the effectiveness and optimal dosage of the drug.
Regulatory review and approval: If the results of the clinical trials are positive, the sponsor submits a New Drug Application (NDA) to the regulatory agency, requesting permission to market the drug. The NDA includes data from the clinical trials as well as information on the manufacturing, labeling, and proposed use of the drug. If the NDA is approved, the drug is deemed safe and effective for use in clinical practice.
Post-marketing surveillance: After a drug has been approved and is being used in clinical practice, the sponsor is required to monitor the drug's safety and effectiveness and report any adverse events or other issues to the regulatory agency. This is known as post-marketing surveillance.
This is a very simplified overview of the drug development process. In reality, the process is much more complex and can take many years to complete.