Small molecule drugs are defined as compounds with low molecular weight that are capable to diagnose, treat, and/or prevent diseases. Small molecule drugs have some distinct advantages as therapeutics: most can be administered orally and they can pass through cell membranes to reach intracellular targets. Small-molecule drugs include aspirin, diphenhydramine, and other molecules that people have in their medicine cabinets. Small molecule drugs provide powerful means to address experimentally challenging problems in host–pathogen interactions, as well as identify new potential targets for drug development. Small molecule drugs can be developed from leads derived from rational drug design or isolated from natural resources.
The global small molecule drug discovery market is estimated to account for US$ 46,883.1 Mn in terms of value by the end of 2022.
Increasing in focus in the development of small molecule drugs due to increase in demand for small molecule drugs is expected to propel growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market during the forecast period. For instance, with the increase in disease burden worldwide, demand for small molecule drugs is also increasing rapidly. In July 2022, Dotmatics announced the launch of Small Molecule Drug Discovery Solution, an integrated scientific R&D platform with pre-configured workflows and expanded data management capabilities. The new solution helps companies innovate more easily by leveraging best practices derived from the company's 15+ years of experience supporting small molecule drug discovery.
Increase in prevalence of chronic diseases around the world is expected to provide significant growth opportunities for players in the small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in novel cancer therapeutics, small molecules can be used as anticancer drugs that inhibit certain proteins in cancer cells. Over 20 small molecule drugs have been approved for clinical use and are being successfully used in the cancer treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. By 2040, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 29.5 million and cancer-related deaths to 16.4 million.
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High cost of drug development and stringent rules and regulations are major factors expected to hamper growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, the process of small molecule drug discovery can be complex and challenging. The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) helps assure that safe and effective drugs are available to the American people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects the quality of drugs by monitoring drug manufacturers' adherence to FDA's current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) requirements.
Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market - Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, pharmaceutical companies and health systems worldwide are focusing on identifying small molecule drugs to treat COVID-19 by examining novel and existing drugs for their ability to reduce symptoms and stem viral replication. To date, several small molecule drugs have shown beneficial effects in clinical and preclinical trials. Moreover, researchers are focusing on designing/developing small-molecule and peptide-based antiviral agents against various targets of SARS-CoV-2 viral disease. This in turn in expected to ain in the growth of the small molecule drug discovery market.
The global small molecule drug discovery market was valued at US$ 43,571.6 Mn in 2021 and is forecast to reach a value of US$ 74,672.5 Mn by 2028 at a CAGR of 8.1% between 2022 and 2028.
Among therapeutics area, oncology segment held dominant position in the global small molecule drug discovery market in 2021, accounting for 30.8% share in terms of value, increasing approval and launch of new products is expected to propel growth of the segment during the forecast period.
- Rise in demand for small molecule drugs across the world is expected to boost growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in August 2022, BioDuro-Sundia and X-Chem launched DNA Encoded Compound Library (DEL) technology services in China to help more innovative pharmaceutical companies quickly discover small molecule drugs.
- Frequent approvals of small molecule drugs are expected to drive growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market during the forecast period. For instance, in September 2022, Tenaya Therapeutics announced clearance of its Investigational New Drug (IND) application to begin clinical testing of TN-301 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). TN-301 is Tenaya’s highly selective small molecule inhibitor of histone deacetylase 6.
Major players operating in the global small molecule drug discovery market include Pfizer Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals, Merck KgaA, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Gilead Sciences Inc., AstraZeneca, Immunocure Inc., Acacia Pharma Gr, 4SC AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 21st Century Therapeutics Inc., Novartis, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., among others.
In December 2021, Acacia Pharma Group announced the post-approval requirement clinical trial investigating the effects of BARHEMSYS (amisulpride injection) in individuals with severe renal impairment.
In November 2020, Immunocure announced that it is now capable of synthesizing the small molecules that they select or design in the early drug discovery for clients. This new addition to the infrastructure may help clients get its molecules delivered with activity.
In December 2018, 21st Century Therapeutics Inc. received an SBIR research grant of USD 345,000 from the National Institutes of Health for the development of a novel small-molecule as a radioprotector for total body irradiation.