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Drug Discov Today. 2019 Jan;24(1):26-30. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2018.07.007. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Translational in vitro research: integrating 3D drug discovery and development processes into the drug development pipeline.

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PreComb Therapeutics AG, Wädenswil, Switzerland. Electronic address:
NCATS/NIH, Bethesda, DC, USA.
NCATS/NIH, Bethesda, DC, USA. Electronic address:


As we witness steady progress towards the development of robust, scalable, and reproducible 3D tissue models for preclinical drug testing, there is a need for systematic physiological and pharmacological validation and benchmarking. Ongoing and future studies should generate evidence as to whether 3D tissue models are more predictive, help reduce the risk of failure rate, and can be used for decision making in the drug discovery and development pipeline. Here, we discuss the importance of harmonizing the validation of these models based on throughput capacity and physiological complexity as a requirement to establish their true translational capacity. We also outline our strategy for a novel 3D-tailored holistic drug discovery concept rather than piecemeal integration of 3D models into the current process.

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