The concept of drug discovery and testing date backs to the ancient times where initially there only existed two methods of discovering drugs. Biotechnology is a research based field in both plants and animals whose foundation is based on genetics and recombinant DNA technology.
This paper illustrates the concept of drug discovery, the available methods and the role of biotechnology and genetics in regard to the on going research in the drug making industry.
Back in the ancient times or before the advent of biotechnology, drug discoveries were made by working on an already existing drug as illustrated by Nobel Laureate sir James Black.
This was mainly done for diseases well known and perhaps with existing drugs in circulation that maybe needed an added efficacy. But for diseases with no existing drugs on the market, the discovery was done by chance as is the case of antibiotics, Alexander Fleming is said to have discovered penicillin through his observation of the bacterial killing by fungus. With the advent of chemistry, other sophisticated methods involved a highly technical screening procedure where substances were tested for their ability to illicit a drug response.
The use of substances entailed procedures where whole or fragments of the entire substances are used hence termed as fragment based approach. With the advent of biotechnology, drug discovery and testing experienced a paradigm shift. Research in this area with regard to drug discovery is based on the understanding that disease conditions in the body occur as a result of the lack of production or the over production of certain proteins.
Biotechnology thus focuses on the genetic manipulation of the cells involved in designing drugs that elicit their responses by either enhancing the production of the proteins in question, in the event of a disease condition occurring as a result of inexpression of the proteins, or drugs whose mode of action entail arresting the gene expression hence the production of proteins in the case of disease conditions that occur as a result of the over production of these proteins. The target of most biotech drugs is thus the gene expression framework.
 Wolfgang Jahnke, Daniel A. Erlanson, Fragment –based approaches in drug discovery Inc Net Library. Wiley-VCH, 2007; 6
Charles Giles Smith. The Process of New Drug Discovery and Development Contributor Charles Giles Smith . CRC Press, 1992,23