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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on novel hit-to-lead drug discovery

New Rochelle, NY, July 8, 2008Biotech and pharmaceutical firms are developing a host of new technologies designed to streamline the complicated drug discovery process, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN). Most successful approaches rely on a combination of high-throughput screening methods, miniaturization techniques, and advanced data-analysis tools, according to an article in the July issue ( of GEN.

"The key goal for companies trying to develop new drugs is to find the best series of compounds that will optimize their chances of turning promising hits into even more promising leads," notes John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN.

Merck, for example, tries to make certain that its scientists work on physiologically relevant targets and assays during early-stage drug discovery research. For target identification the company uses RNAi technology in human cell lines. Multiparametric assays then generate biological activity profiles that can often provide valuable insight into complex disease models.

Pharmacopeia's screening platform is based on its ECLiPS (encoded combinatorial libraries on polymeric support) technology. Three steps are involved in the firm's screening process. A primary high-throughput approach screens eluate from multiple beads. A follow-up protocol screens single bead eluates from those sublibraries, which demonstrate activity in the assay. Finally, company scientists submit beads for a decoding process, which is how they identify the structure of compounds in the active wells in step two.

Also discussed in the GEN article is drug discovery activities taking place at GlaxoSmithKline, Fujifilm, Archemix, and the Southern Research Institute.


Contact: John Sterling
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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