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The importance of characterising chemical starting points of drugs using appropriate in vitro ADME-toxicity assays

Over the past 30 years, one strategy the pharmaceutical industry has adopted in the drug discovery process has been to “fail early, fail often”.1,2 As most molecules in the early stages of drug discovery will have sub-optimal characteristics, significant modification is necessary to improve their properties.

ADME toxicity assays

For many reasons – including both scientific and business considerations – most of these compounds are not progressed. In order to mitigate risks early on, the practice of front-loading thousands of compounds and employing assays such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADME-toxicity) at an early stage to select the most optimal compound for progression is often implemented. This strategy has been successful to some extent and here we illustrate the types of in vitro ADME-toxicity assays, which should be realised as early as possible in the drug discovery value chain.











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