Drug discovery and development: lessons from an undeveloped drug

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In this article, drug discovery and preclinical development paradigms, as employed in today's pharmaceutical companies, are discussed. The antimalarial drug, artemisinin, is given as an example of a compound that is unlikely to be developed by a modern pharmaceutical company, yet is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of a deadly disease. It is argued that the use of prespecified charts, listing undesired properties to deselect molecules may lead to missed opportunities in bringing best-in-class medications to patients. Implementation of systems pharmacology, disease progression and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic models are proposed. These models offer a superior approach in selecting the best drug candidates with the highest chance of success of entry into the market.

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