In carrying out research, we use alternatives to animals whenever we can, and we aim to carry out studies with the fewest number of animals possible. Nevertheless, there are still many diseases that are not currently understood and cannot be treated, prevented or cured.
Humans are biologically very similar to other mammals, with most of the same organs performing similar functions and controlled by comparable mechanisms (such as the circulatory and nervous systems). In developing a new medicine, we need to be able to see the effects of the compound in a whole living body. There is currently no alternative to animal research that allows us to study these processes and assess whether a compound has the potential to become a medicine.
In addition, the regulatory authorities that approve medicines for use in humans require new compounds to go through safety studies in animals first. Some countries even require animal testing of non-medicinal products in order to illustrate possible health benefits, and we undertake this animal research when necessary.