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Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Jan 1;87(1):189-210. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2013.10.019. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Translational paradigms in pharmacology and drug discovery.

Author information

  • 1Profectus Pharma Consulting Inc., San Jose, CA, United States. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Pharmacology, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cambridge, MA, United States.
  • 3Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States.


The translational sciences represent the core element in enabling and utilizing the output from the biomedical sciences and to improving drug discovery metrics by reducing the attrition rate as compounds move from preclinical research to clinical proof of concept. Key to understanding the basis of disease causality and to developing therapeutics is an ability to accurately diagnose the disease and to identify and develop safe and effective therapeutics for its treatment. The former requires validated biomarkers and the latter, qualified targets. Progress has been hampered by semantic issues, specifically those that define the end product, and by scientific issues that include data reliability, an overt reductionistic cultural focus and a lack of hierarchically integrated data gathering and systematic analysis. A necessary framework for these activities is represented by the discipline of pharmacology, efforts and training in which require recognition and revitalization.


Bias; Biomarkers; Drug discovery; Pharmacology; Translational science

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