Advances in fragment-based drug discovery platforms.

Expert opinion on drug discovery

PubMedID: 23480433

Orita M, Warizaya M, Amano Y, Ohno K, Niimi T. Advances in fragment-based drug discovery platforms. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2009;4(11):1125-44.
Background: Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) has been established as a powerful alternative and complement to traditional high-throughput screening techniques for identifying drug leads. At present, this technique is widely used among academic groups as well as small biotech and large pharmaceutical companies. In recent years, > 10 new compounds developed with FBDD have entered clinical development, and more and more attention in the drug discovery field is being focused on this technique. Objective: Under the FBDD approach, a fragment library of relatively small compounds (molecular mass = 100 - 300 Da) is screened by various methods and the identified fragment hits which normally weakly bind to the target are used as starting points to generate more potent drug leads. Because FBDD is still a relatively new drug discovery technology, further developments and optimizations in screening platforms and fragment exploitation can be expected. This review summarizes recent advances in FBDD platforms and discusses the factors important for the successful application of this technique. Conclusion: Under the FBDD approach, both identifying the starting fragment hit to be developed and generating the drug lead from that starting fragment hit are important. Integration of various techniques, such as computational technology, X-ray crystallography, NMR, surface plasmon resonance, isothermal titration calorimetry, mass spectrometry and high-concentration screening, must be applied in a situation-appropriate manner.