Delivering genuine therapeutic innovation is more challenging and complex than ever. Despite major scientific breakthroughs and technological advances leading to a greater understanding of the aetiology of diseases, it is generally accepted that the current approach to creating new small molecule therapeutics remains fundamentally inefficient.
High-content screening (HCS) is a well-established approach for the multiparametric analysis of cellular events. Since its first introduction more than a decade ago, HCS imaging systems have continually evolved with many improvements enabled to meet user demands of greater flexibility and the growing requirements of assays involving complex cellular disease models.
Phenotypic drug discovery (PDD) implies screening where the molecular mechanism of action is not assumed and does not require knowledge of the molecular target.
Flow cytometry has many of the technology attributes (eg multi-parameter analysis of cell suspensions) needed when attempting to profile a phenotypic drug response. However, for flow cytometry to be considered the phenotypic drug screening platform of choice it needs to interface with the real screening world, ie be able to support higher throughput and to acquire low sample volumes from high density microplates.
Renewed awareness of the value of phenotypic screening to drug discovery1-5 creates many new opportunities to increase drug discovery success and productivity. These opportunities include identification of translational phenotypic biomarkers, development of new assays that translate to human disease and refinement of paradigms to successfully execute phenotypic drug discovery (PDD).