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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

By 2020 the Pharma R&D process may be shortened by two-thirds, success rates may dramatically increase, and clinical trial costs could be cut substantially, according to a research report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, entitled Pharma 2020: Virtual R&D, which path will you take? New computer-based technologies will create a greater understanding of disease biology and lead to the evolution of 'virtual man' to enable researchers to predict the effects of new drug candidates before they enter trials with human beings, notes the study.

During this week's GEN podcast, Dr. Neil Patel explains why the pharmaceutical industry is at a pivotal point in its development. He talks about seven key trends that are reshaping the pharmaceutical marketplace and posing a challenge to business. Dr. Patel describes the current pharma research process and addresses what it might look like once robust computer models of the entire human body are available. He also discusses the nature of the changes emerging in technology and the business environment that will provide the pharma industry with new strategies to compete successfully in the future and on a global basis.

Neil Patel, PharmD. is a consultant with more than fifteen years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry. He has assisted R&D organizations improve business performance and compliance by leading the development and deployment of new strategies, processes, and technology. His areas of expertise are in assisting organizations redesign and implement Medical Development processes to improve productivity, while ensuring compliance with global regulations. Currently Neil is in the Pharmaceutical R&D Operations practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is primarily focused on improving clinical program execution and R&D operations planning with the overall goal of enhancing productivity and compliance in Medical development. Since joining PwC he has led projects to improve compliance with safety reporting, improve R&D project and resource management, enhance the development planning process, and assess the compliance control environment in preclinical and clinical research for multinational pharmaceutical organizations. Neil brings not only consulting experience, but also hands on industry experience and deep technical knowledge to the practice. Prior to joining PwC, Neil worked for Merck Research Laboratories in Research Planning and Integration. While at Merck he designed and implemented a resource planning model and decision support process to manage resources and clinical grants primarily for the Executive VP of Clinical Research, therapeutic area vice presidents, and the Late Stage Development Review Committee. Furthermore, he supported the annual and long range budgeting process working with functional leadership and governing committees. Additionally, as part of a transformation effort at Merck Neil led a project to redesign the Project Development Team structure, process, and interaction with committees. Finally, he was part of a team to assess the opportunity, feasibility, and compliance risks of conducting research in India leading to an implementation plan. Previous to Merck Neil worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting in the Pharmaceutical R&D practice. His work focused on transformation efforts in Medical Development involving business process design, organization analysis, strategic planning, and R&D/marketing integration projects. He was responsible for project planning and management, problem solving, workshop facilitation, leadership, executive level communication, and implementation plans. Neil holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from University of Connecticut and a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

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