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Building Better Drugs

The Role Assay Development Plays in Drug Discovery​

Every year, researchers invest billions of dollars toward clinical approval of innovative new drug compounds. However, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) only accepts a select number of new chemical entries every year. 

In fact, from 2011 to 2018, the FDA only approved 309 new drugs. While this is a marked improvement from the approval rate of decades prior, it still points to the administration’s selectivity. 

One way to streamline the drug development process? Invest in assay development.

This analytical function is key to high-quality drug discovery research. Today, we’re diving into the important role it plays.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!

What Is an Assay?

In short, an assay is a complex testing system that researchers use to gauge the effects of a chemical compound on a specific biochemical, cellular, or molecular process. Often used to measure toxicity levels, these tests also serve to ensure that a given drug will function as designed.

Take G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), for instance. This is one of the most prominent families in the human genome, with more than 1,000 sequences identified as potential GPCRs. 

As such, roughly one-third of all available drugs on the market today are designed to interact with them in some way, including those designed to help treat the following disease types:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Metabolic
  • Infectious
  • Neurodegenerative
  • Oncologic 

A cell-based assay can help determine if the drug-target interaction is occurring and if so, what specific cells and signaling pathways are engaged using functional and reporter readouts.

Types of Assay Development

At Multispan, we understand that while drug discovery can be a laborious process, you need expedited assay development timeline. That’s why our assay development services feature a rapid one-month turnaround time.

When you partner with our team of researchers, you can select from myriad of assay development services that monitor recombinant or primary cells, including: 

  • Customized second messenger 
  • Reporter
  • Phenotypic
  • Binding assays

You can also customize your specific biomedical assay depending on your screening and research needs. The options we provide include cAMP, β-arrestin, pERK, and GTPγS, just to name a few.

To meet the high-throughput screening need for selecting millions of compounds in a campaign, our standard format is in 384-well microtiter plates. More importantly, our minimum requirement of Z’ is 0.5.

Screening for Structure-Activity Relationships

A structure-activity relationship (SAR) lead optimization screen measures the relationship between a molecule’s chemical structure and its biological activity. It’s an interactive process and a critical part of the drug discovery process.

Need biology to keep up with your AI-aided or medicinal chemistry SAR drug design? We offer NEXT-DAY turnaround for your weekly primary screen.

In summary, we provide the following types of screening and profiling support, including:

  • Hit identification: High throughput screening
  • Lead optimization: Weekly or monthly secondary screens
  • Signaling bias profiling in binding or phenotypic assays 

Any of these screens can be run in heterologous recombinant or endogenous primary cells. Furthermore, you’ll have the choice of agonist, antagonist, positive allosteric modulator (PAM) and negative allosteric modulator (NAM) modes. In addition to the human GPCR target, you can choose from different ortholog specious matching your animal models.

We also offer a 75-orphan GPCR Calcium assay panel, as well as a 32-GPCR Safety/Liability Functional Assay Panel. The latter can help identify compound liabilities that could occur across reactions within the following human body systems:

  • Central nervous system
  • Cardiac system
  • Pulmonary system
  • Gastrointestinal system

To back up the results we provide, we’ll include detailed reports, in-depth analyses, and raw data at no cost to you. 

Assistance for Advanced Assay Development Needs

Building better drugs starts with creating a more robust and accurate assay. That’s where we can help. We’re your go-to assay experts focusing on GPCRs and beyond.

Click on our catalog to find out more about the available GPCR cell lines and division-arrested cells we can measure. 

Looking for pricing? Click the “Request a Quote” button on our home page for a custom quote. You can also click our email address (info@multispaninc.com) to reach us directly!

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