The word “science” brings to mind many different pictures: a fat textbook, white lab coats and microscopes; an astronomer peering through a telescope; a naturalist in the rain forest; Einstein’s equations scribbled on a chalkboard; the launch of the space shuttle; bubbling beakers… All of these images reflect some aspect of science, but none of them provide a full picture because science has so many facets.
One thing is certain, however: Science is ongoing. Science is continually refining and expanding our knowledge of the universe, and as it does it leads to new questions for future investigations. Science will never be “finished.”
But science today is more challenging than ever. Scientists must make sense of mountains of data and provide solutions to stunningly complex questions, despite shrinking budgets and increasingly aggressive timelines.
When challenges are big and resources are limited, inefficiency is not an option. Yet IDC estimates that across all industries, 40% of all R&D experiments are needlessly repeated; the inefficiency in some industries, such as pharmaceuticals, is known to be significantly more. For example, Forbes reports that it takes 12 years and typically costs from US$4 billion to US$12 billion to bring a new drug to market.
Failure is a major contributor: of 5,000 drugs submitted for preclinical testing, Medicine.net estimates that only five make it to clinical trials; only one of those five becomes an approved drug.
Fortunately, the challenges of science and improvements in technology are converging to help squeeze out inefficiency. Sophisticated computer modeling and simulation enable predictive science, funneling more resources to the most promising prospects. Cloud computing disseminates information quickly, enabling scientific collaboration on urgent challenges. Electronic laboratory notebooks ensure that all data are collected for re-use on new challenges, and powerful algorithms driven by supercomputers pluck amazing insights from oceans of data in seconds.
Dassault Systèmes recently purchased Accelrys, a leader in such technologies, and created the BIOVIA brand. By integrating Accelrys’ applications for biological, chemical and materials modeling and simulation with our 3DEXPERIENCE platform, BIOVIA gives science the support it needs to advance discovery and knowledge. By making great science faster and more affordable, we believe we can bring a tremendous gift to scientists in a world brimming with challenges and eager for answers.