Optimising screening strategy within drug discovery
As screening capacity becomes leaner, and discovery projects more differentiated, there are tough choices on how much compound pre-screening to do before starting work with ex vivo models or moving into regulatory safety testing.
The importance of good screening strategies
Our drug discovery clients are concerned about:
- projects failing late and at high cost,
- unnecessary reduction in product throughput due to over-screening, using methods that raise false alerts,
- inefficient use of resource and time.
A balanced solution to these problems requires smarter screening strategies. There is a need to apply and combine both in silico and in vitro methods more intelligently along the pipeline.
There are some clear ground rules for this. A decision-making step that never rejects an option does not add value. Each stage gate needs to act as a value-adding filter. However, given key differences between projects (objectives, breadth of available options, and depth of relevant experience in assays and predictive models) then these filters need custom design for each project. Once the high-throughput assay for the primary target has been validated, then the toughest project team decision is the choice of screening strategy.
Finding the right screening strategy for each project
Finding the right screening strategy is hard. Mistakes can be very expensive in lost time, spend and market opportunities. Few individuals have a length of experience to learn from both successful and unsuccessful projects. Without some more formal support to decision-making, there remains the nagging doubt that too many viable opportunities are being lost through over-caution. We offer two main services, demonstrated in simplified form by a highly interactive and visual ‘screening strategy explorer’ that you can access and use directly from this site:
- decision analysis that goes beyond generic commercial packages (which are lengthy and difficult to use, considering the eight or more variables that will influence the best decision on screening approach)
- learning support that helps scientist and project managers follow through the consequences of their decisions in a safe, simulated environment with immediate feedback.