This is an interesting summary of the strategy adopted by pharmaceutical industry presented by Steve Rees, the Vice-President of screening sciences and sample management at Aztrazeneca. This interview was realised by selectscince last month.
It is well recognized that the majority of projects fail in discovery or clinical development due to either target or molecule related toxicity, or the demonstration of a lack of compound efficacy in disease models or clinical studies.
The industry has also adopted phenotypic screening; that is the screening of compounds in primary or stem cell derived disease relevant assays to directly identify compounds with activity at a disease pathway. In this paradigm, the molecular target of the hit molecule is often unknown. This screening paradigm enables the identification of truly novel, disease relevant targets. The challenge, however, is the development of disease relevant assays, and the requirement to identify the target of any hits, using a variety of methods that have collectively been labeled target deconvolution.