Target engagement approaches for pharmacological evaluation in animal models
The field of chemical biology has introduced several approaches, typically using chemical probes, to measure the direct binding interaction of a small molecule with its biological target in cells. The use of these direct target engagement assays in pharmaceutical development can support mechanism of action hypothesis testing, rank ordering of compounds, and iterative improvements of chemical matter. This Feature Article highlights a newer application of these approaches: the quantification of target engagement in animal models to support late stage preclinical development and the nomination of a drug candidate to clinical trials. Broadly speaking, these efforts can be divided between compounds that covalently and reversibly interact with protein targets; recent examples for both categories are discussed for a range of targets, along with their limitations. New, promising technologies are also highlighted, in addition to the application of target engagement determination to new therapeutic modalities.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 Emerging Investigators