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Chem Res Toxicol. 2016 Apr 18;29(4):452-72. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.5b00396. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

Safety Lead Optimization and Candidate Identification: Integrating New Technologies into Decision-Making.

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Department of Safety Assessment, Genentech, Inc. , 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, California 94080, United States.


Discovery toxicology focuses on the identification of the most promising drug candidates through the development and implementation of lead optimization strategies and hypothesis-driven investigation of issues that enable rational and informed decision-making. The major goals are to [a] identify and progress the drug candidate with the best overall drug safety profile for a therapeutic area, [b] remove the most toxic drugs from the portfolio prior to entry into humans to reduce clinical attrition due to toxicity, and [c] establish a well-characterized hazard and translational risk profile to enable clinical trial designs. This is accomplished through a framework that balances the multiple considerations to identify a drug candidate with the overall best drug characteristics and provides a cogent understanding of mechanisms of toxicity. The framework components include establishing a target candidate profile for each program that defines the qualities of a successful candidate based on the intended therapeutic area, including the risk tolerance for liabilities; evaluating potential liabilities that may result from engaging the therapeutic target (pharmacology-mediated or on-target) and that are chemical structure-mediated (off-target); and characterizing identified liabilities. Lead optimization and investigation relies upon the integrated use of a variety of technologies and models (in silico, in vitro, and in vivo) that have achieved a sufficient level of qualification or validation to provide confidence in their use. We describe the strategic applications of various nonclinical models (established and new) for a holistic and integrated risk assessment that is used for rational decision-making. While this review focuses on strategies for small molecules, the overall concepts, approaches, and technologies are generally applicable to biotherapeutics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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