Drug Developers Seek Extreme Clinical Phenotypes To Ignite Medical Discovery
1/23/2014 8:40:12 AM
How do you go about discovering new medicines?
You might begin empirically, and look around for something that seems to work — willow bark for pain, for instance, or an anti-tuberculosis pill for depression. This approach relies on what author Morton Meyers calls “happy accidents,” and accounts for a remarkable number of existing therapeutics (most of them, Nassim Taleb asserts). Supporting this seemingly radical conjecture, a 2011 paper in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery reported that between 1999 and 2008, more FDA-approved first-in-class small molecules were derived from phenotypic screening (an empiric approach) than from insight-oriented, target-based drug discovery.
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