Metabolomics and its potential in drug development

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Metabolomics is the global and unbiased survey of the complement of small molecules (say, <1 kDa) in a biofluid, tissue, organ or organism and measures the end-products of the cellular metabolism of both endogenous and exogenous substrates. Many drug candidates fail during Phase II and III clinical trials at an enormous cost to the pharmaceutical industry in terms of both time lost and of financial resources. The constantly evolving model of drug development now dictates that biomarkers should be employed in preclinical development for the early detection of likely-to-fail candidates. Biomarkers may also be useful in the preselection of patients and through the subclassification of diseases in clinical drug development. Here we show with examples how metabolomics can assist in the preclinical development phases of discovery, pharmacology, toxicology, and ADME. Although not yet established as a clinical trial patient prescreening procedure, metabolomics shows considerable promise in this regard. We can be certain that metabolomics will join genomics and transcriptomics in lubricating the wheels of clinical drug development in the near future.

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