Combining Biological Knowledge with Experimental Data

Target discovery is now the single most critical decision in drug discovery. Find a novel, valid target for an indication with significant unmet medical need, and the rest of the pharma R&D process can be relatively straightforward. Gene expression experiments may improve our understanding of disease and of the impacts of probe compounds, but the arrays used in early work often have incomplete coverage, especially for direct protein measurement, which is necessary to understand post-transcriptional regulation. Given incomplete data, the underlying mechanistic causes (regulators) need to be inferred with the help of literature information on protein-protein or micro-RNA mediated signaling (the ‘interactome’, or referred to below simply as ‘network’, where a ‘node’ stands for a gene or the equivalent mRNA or protein).

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