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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2007 Oct;11(5):494-502.

Virtual screening strategies in drug discovery.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


The identification of novel therapeutic targets and characterization of their 3D structures is increasing at a dramatic rate. Computational screening methods continue to be developed and improved as credible and complementary alternatives to high-throughput biochemical compound screening (HTS). While the majority of drug candidates currently being developed have been found using HTS methods, high-throughput docking and pharmacophore-based searching algorithms are gaining acceptance and becoming a major source of lead molecules in drug discovery. Refinements and optimization of high-throughput docking methods have lead to improvements in reproducing experimental data and in hit rates obtained, validating their use in hit identification. In parallel with virtual screening methods, concomitant developments in cheminformatics including identification, design and manipulation of drug-like small molecule libraries have been achieved. Herein, currently used in silico screening techniques and their utility on a comparative and target dependent basis is discussed.

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