Drug discovery must be guided not only by medical need and commercial potential, but also by the areas in which new science is creating therapeutic opportunities, such as target identification and the understanding of disease mechanisms. To systematically identify such areas of high scientific activity, we use bibliometrics and related data-mining methods to analyse over half a terabyte of data, including PubMed abstracts, literature citation data and patent filings. These analyses reveal trends in scientific activity related to disease studied at varying levels, down to individual genes and pathways, and provide methods to monitor areas in which scientific advances are likely to create new therapeutic opportunities.
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