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A Novel Approach to Combinatorial Library Design

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We address the problem of designing a general-purpose combinatorial library to screen for pharmaceutical leads. Conventional approaches focus on diversity as the primary factor in designing such libraries. We suggest making screening libraries out of a set of pharmaceutically relevant scaffolds, with multiple analogs per scaffold. The rationale for this rests on the fact that even though the hit-rate in active series is much higher than in the database as a whole, often a large fraction of the compounds in active series are inactive. This is especially true when the series has not been optimized for the target under study. We introduce the concept of ”hit-rate within a series“ and use historic screening data to arrive at a crude estimate for it. We then use simple probability arguments to show that 50-100 compounds are required in each series in order to be nearly certain of finding at least one active compound in each true active series for any given target.
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Keywords: Combinatorial Library Design

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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  • Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening publishes full length original research articles and reviews describing various topics in combinatorial chemistry (e.g. small molecules, peptide, nucleic acid or phage display libraries) and/or high throughput screening (e.g. developmental, practical or theoretical). Ancillary subjects of key importance, such as robotics and informatics, will also be covered by the journal. In these respective subject areas, Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening is intended to function as the most comprehensive and up-to-date medium available. The journal should be of value to individuals engaged in the process of drug discoveryand development, in the settings of industry, academia or government.
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