Over the past two decades, many new technologies have provided the rationale for scientific study, a platform for the formation of small, specialized biotechnology companies and the promise of new therapeutics. Genomics, while providing and promising the same, is unlike any other.
Genomics is different for several reasons. First, it is an enabling technology and not a product technology in and of itself. Second, although some product opportunities may be suggested in the near term, the big payoff of genomics will only come after considerably more DNA sequence information is accumulated, new allied technologies such as bioinformatics mature, and more basic research related to the function and expression of genes is performed in an effort to design ways to apply acquired information to the process of therapeutic development. Third, genomics will ultimately have a major impact on virtually every area of therapeutics in existence today and may enable the development of new therapeutic approaches which we cannot currently envision.
In short, genomics is a technology for the long run—a technology which no one involved in therapeutic development can ignore in the short run.
This article briefly traces the development of genomics and highlights the current technologies upon which genomics is being developed. The intent is to place genomics within the broad context of modern therapeutics development, identify the major players in the field and summarize the trends and expectations which have been formed around the technology. Selected information for this article was derived from the comprehensive D&MD report (#938) entitled Genomics and Human Therapeutics Development.