Screening High-Throughput Drugs Early in the Drug Discovery Process

Pharma Tech Outlook: Pharma Tech Magazine

Screening High-Throughput Drugs Early in the Drug Discovery Process

Pharma Tech Outlook | Monday, January 16, 2023

More scientists are focusing on developing 3D cell models, disease models, and high-throughput screening methods that are physiologically relevant.

FREMONT, CA: Nine others fail for one medicine that makes it to the finish line. This alarming failure rate can be attributed to using 2D cell cultures that do not accurately represent the complexity of human biology, resulting in erroneous forecasts of a medicine's efficacy and prolonged drug development timetables.

More and more researchers are focusing on cell line development, disease models, and high-throughput screening methodologies on physiologically relevant 3D cell models, thereby altering the landscape of drug discovery. This is because using cellular model systems in research that closely resemble patient disease states or human organs expedites the development of life-saving therapies.

The significance of high-throughput screening in the early stages of drug discovery

High Throughput Screening (HTS) tests a compound library against a biological target. Screening entails duplicating thousands of biological reactions to test one hundred thousand pharmacological compound targets using a wide range of doses. Scientists from HTS are identifying what dose range can block or promote a desired outcome without producing toxicity in an animal model. Various biochemical, cellular, and ion channel experiments are conducted to determine the efficacy of a certain substance. The explored biochemical processes include protein activity, binding efficiency, cellular toxicity or phenotypic alterations, and cell signaling readouts.

HTS is a time-intensive procedure that necessitates evaluating many scientific characteristics, ensuring that candidate medications proceed through the pipeline. It is also an expensive operation; therefore, maximizing throughput and scale in volume or the number of daily tests is essential for accelerating time to market or next-stage review.

End-to-end automated solution for 3D biological workflows

Drug development heavily depends on high-throughput tests with a suitable window for assessing the efficacy of candidate medications. It is anticipated that 3D cell models would transform the output of early drug discovery, resulting in a more qualified early selection of lead candidates and, consequently, increased R&D productivity.

Molecular Devices integrates microplate readers, high-content imaging systems, clone-picking technologies, and advanced analysis software with lab automation—including robotics, incubation, and liquid handling—to drive better experiments, make it easier for researchers to mine complex data for insights, and shape the future of drug discovery.

2D to 3D Cell Culture

Multiple studies have demonstrated that 3D cell models provide more physiologically relevant data than 2D models in drug development and disease modeling in recent years.

3D Cell Models

3D cell cultures have the benefit of accurately replicating the architecture, cell organization, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and more physiologically relevant diffusion features of human tissues. Utilizing 3D cellular assays enhances research and screening efforts by bridging the translational gap between 2D cell cultures and whole-animal models. 3D models provide unique insights into stem cell and tissue development in vitro by simulating key aspects of the in vivo environment.

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