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Apr 15, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 8)

Drug Repositioning Gains in Popularity

Strategy Is in Vogue from Large Pharma Companies to Biotechs and Foundations

  • In Vivo Assays

    Melior Discovery uses its theraTRACE® indications discovery platform for the comprehensive screening of known drug-like compounds using a battery of in vivo assays spanning multiple therapeutic areas. Currently, over 45 validated animal models are represented in the platform covering  a broad range of diseases.

    Andrew Reaume, Ph.D., president and CEO of Melior Discovery, said that understanding the spectrum of biology influenced by any given therapeutic target is key to successful drug discovery and repositioning. He believes that the traditional drug discovery paradigm, built upon a hypothesis-driven approach, relies upon an incomplete collective knowledge base in which it is not always possible to predict the full spectrum of biology influenced by a given target of interest.

    Melior Discovery’s nonhypothesis-based approach, termed phenotypic screening, is embodied in its theraTRACE platform. According to Dr. Reaume, this technology can uncover drug candidate activity that otherwise, would not be predicted.

    “Philosophically, this approach is based upon the premise that our collective knowledge-base is incomplete and, as a result, we often do not have sufficient information to form hypotheses about how drug targets (and therefore, drugs) are connected to alternative therapeutic pathways.” Dr. Reaume said that 30% of drug-like compounds exhibit otherwise unpredicted biological activity when they are run through the theraTRACE platform.

    “The consequences of operating within an incomplete knowledge base have been established by the high failure rates of compounds in the clinic, despite large investments and the high rates of unpredicted biology revealed when compounds are brought into animal models or into the clinic.”



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