Research Topic

Pharmaceutical innovation after World War II: from rational drug discovery to biopharmaceuticals

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The twentieth century has witnessed an unprecedented advancement of biomedical sciences, especially in drug discovery and design. After World War II, life-saving pharmaceutical innovation has materialised primarily through systematic research, and has consisted of a series of thematic developments that have ...

The twentieth century has witnessed an unprecedented advancement of biomedical sciences, especially in drug discovery and design. After World War II, life-saving pharmaceutical innovation has materialised primarily through systematic research, and has consisted of a series of thematic developments that have been tightly-linked not only to the contemporary technological advances, but also particularly to the contemporary understanding of human physiology and pathophysiology. This proposed Research Topic aims to delineate and conceptualise pharmaceutical innovation within the twentieth century, with an emphasis on the post-World War II era, and to highlight its roots and pathways throughout that period. From the systematic assessment of botanicals and vital stains to the era of structural biology and computational modelling, authors are invited to contribute to the analysis of the historical and scientific details that have shaped pharmaceutical innovation. We propose the investigation of a variety of paradigm shifting factors, including the development and acceptance of innovative ideas; the impact of contemporary discoveries, theoretical advances and technological developments; the influence of individual scientists; the significance of specific pioneering labs; and the varied and variable roles of industry, funding bodies, regulators and markets. Review and original articles on the historical perspectives of R&D modelling, concepts defining pharmaceutical targeting and drug optimization will be particularly welcome.


Keywords: pharmaceutical innovation, drug discovery, biopharmaceuticals, history, twentieth century, World War II


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