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Dark chemical matter as a promising starting point for drug lead discovery

Wassermann, Anne, Lounkine, Eugen, Hoepfner, Dominic, Le Goff, Gaelle, King, Frederick, Studer, Christian, Peltier, John, Grippo, Melissa, Prindle, Vivian, Tao, Jianshi, Schuffenhauer, Ansgar, Wallace, Iain, Chen, Shanni, Krastel, Philipp, Cobos-Correa, Amanda, Parker, Christian, Davies, John and Glick, Meir (3276) Dark chemical matter as a promising starting point for drug lead discovery. Nature Chemical Biology, 11 (12). pp. 958-966. ISSN 1552-44501552-4469


High-throughput screening (HTS) is an integral part of early drug discovery. Herein, we focused on those small molecules in a screening collection that have never shown biological activity despite having been exhaustively tested in HTS assays. These compounds are referred to as 'dark chemical matter' (DCM). We quantified DCM, validated it in quality control experiments, described its physicochemical properties and mapped it into chemical space. Through analysis of prospective reporter-gene assay, gene expression and yeast chemogenomics experiments, we evaluated the potential of DCM to show biological activity in future screens. We demonstrated that, despite the apparent lack of activity, occasionally these compounds can result in potent hits with unique activity and clean safety profiles, which makes them valuable starting points for lead optimization efforts. Among the identified DCM hits was a new antifungal chemotype with strong activity against the pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans but little activity at targets relevant to human safety.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2016 23:45
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2016 23:45


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