||I U P A C
Organizations & People
Pure Appl. Chem. Vol.
73, No. 1, pp. 67-75 (2001)
Pure and Applied
Vol. 73, Issue
Continuing evolution of the drug discovery process in the pharmaceutical
Emiliangelo Ratti and David Trist
Glaxo Wellcome SpA Medicines Research Centre, Verona,
Abstract: Many early discoveries in the pharmaceutical industry
were through serendipity. Later, targets were mainly identified in animals
and systematically exploited through the identification of potent and
selective molecules. A disease association was normally obtained through
the clinical testing of candidate molecules in patients. The technological
advances in the last few years offer the possibility of knowing more
about the disease, and this is driving the industry toward a disease-based
approach where understanding the disease becomes central to the process.
This is now possible thanks to the recent explosion in molecular and
cellular biology, together with the application of genetics and genomics.
New screening technologies have also revolutionized the identification
of chemical leads. Now, high-throughput screening allows a wide chemical
diversity to be applied in order to obtain tractable leads, which can
then be optimized by the medicinal chemist. It is envisaged that these
trends of continuously searching for process improvement will continue,
being driven by the need to find medicines that add value in treating
unmet medical need.
*Lectures presented at the XVIth International Symposium
on Medicinal Chemistry, Bologna, Italy, 18-22 September 2000. Other
presentations are published in this issue, pp.
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