Complex compounds for complex diseases

Tuesday, October 04th, 2011 by hinrich

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

There is an interesting article in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry by Walters et al. who look into changes over the past 50 years in compound properties made by medicinal chemists. As our new IWT research and development project termed QSTAR will look into links between data from bioassays, compound structures and transcriptional responses, I was especially interested in the section where the authors discuss molecular complexity.

Not only are medicinal chemists faced with increasingly challenging targets, but also biologists working on various diseases focus more and more on complex diseases. The whole field of polypharmacology explores how a given compound will not only interact with a single molecular target but typically with multiple targets.

In other words, if we work increasingly on challenging targets, explore and attempt to utilize the activity of a molecule on more than one target and reassess the utility of phenotypic screens over single target based drug development strategies, I believe there is a necessity to explore complex biological readouts to capture such compound-induced complex phenotypes.

This is one of the key motivations of our new IWT research project. Not only do we want to explore the boundaries of observable links between the above mentioned data types, but rather attempt to develop new levels of SAR that capture biological complexity for compound optimization. Hence the name QSTAR.

The article by Walters et al. can be found here.

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