The script for one of the most dreaded scenarios in new drug development reads like this: Company A sinks several hundred million dollars into putting a new drug onto pharmacy shelves. Only then do serious side effects appear, and force withdrawal of that drug from the market.
Researchers in India now are reporting development of a new and more accurate method for predicting toxicity in the very early stages of drug development.
Nagasuma R. Chandra and colleagues describe the computer technique in the November/December issue of the ACS's bi-monthly Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. They also report on its use in predicting with high accuracy one form of toxicity - a heart rhythm disorder that forced withdrawal of the popular antihistamine terfenadine (Seldane).
The technique identifies patterns in the substructure of a drug's molecular structure that can raise red flags over hidden toxicity.
"Such screening saves a lot of time, effort, and money and helps in better planning and focusing of the available resources for drug discovery," they write.
The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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