June 2, 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease is an enveloped virus. Meaning, it is mostly human plasma membrane, with a few viral protein units spiking through as points of attachment of the virus to human cells prior to fusing with them and causing infectio...

February 24, 2020

In contrast to target-based strategies, phenotypic drug discovery does not rely on knowledge of a specific drug target or a hypothesis about its role in disease, but instead focuses on finding a gene or small molecule that corrects a cellular characteristic that is spe...

October 30, 2019

It seems like an obvious concept: Let's say you are developing a drug that works by inhibiting, say, phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) to treat depression (fictional). You have collected immense molecular, cellular, animal and clinical data supporting and validating PDE-4 as...

June 25, 2019

The holy grail of the pharma industry is FDA approval, but the final clue may be positive top-line (Phase III) results.  However, it is not out of the question that a Phase III study can meet its efficacy endpoint, yet still be rejected by the FDA.  This may especially...

June 25, 2019

High-throughput screening (HTS) has been a blessing and a curse.  A blessing in codifying a straightforward approach to discovering drug candidates once a particular target has been identified.  But a curse in terms of its overall efficiency, with many extremely expens...

June 25, 2019

Where to even begin?  A mold flew in through the window and, presto, penicillin. Hey, then, why not screen all the compounds we have on the shelves in those bacterial/assay/etc dishes?  And so began screening for drug candidates.

But bigger quickly became assumed...

May 30, 2019

We waited a long time for a real gene therapy, though we were promised it would be easy. So now we are feeling optimistic about the other recalcitrant biomedical challenges. What about a first-in-class drug for schizophrenia?  Where are we with that?

Well, in the same o...

May 30, 2019

The story begins in the 1950s when thalidomide was approved as an over the counter sedative in Europe, but conspicuously rejected by the FDA in the US.  Shortly thereafter, it was discovered that thousands of babies were born without limbs or shortened limbs, a conditi...

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