Phenotypic screening is transforming drug discovery as advances are made in development of human-based physiologically-relevant in vitro systems.
Integration of phenotypic drug discovery approaches with target-based screening can improve success rates as assays can be leveraged for the discovery of novel mechanisms and for building knowledge of disease biology.
Pharmaceutical productivity continues to stagnate despite advances in genomics, assay technologies and automation that have enabled high throughput screening of millions of compounds in target-based assays. Fewer than 10% of drug discovery programmes entering the clinic make it all the way to regulatory approval. Indeed, in 2016 only 22 novel drugs were approved by the FDA, a six-year low. As the limitations of target-based drug discovery (TDD) were becoming apparent earlier this decade, Swinney and Antony, with their unexpectedly-impactful analysis of historical drug approvals, initiated a shift within the industry to reconsider phenotypic screening approaches or phenotypic drug discovery (PDD) for identifying novel drugs. Despite the challenges with these approaches, phenotypic screening is poised to make an impact....
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