About Early-Phase Drug Discovery

We provide researchers with HTS assay development and library screening to identify novel hit molecules with expertise to further optimize the hits using traditional medicinal chemistry and SAR by catalog.

We also offer the ability to characterize compounds using in vitro absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) assays and in vivo pharmacokinetics (PK).

Early stages of the drug discovery process contain hurdles that must be cleared before more robust drug development can commence. Once a molecular target is selected, drug discovery begins with identification of a hit and progresses toward a lead candidate through a series of structural optimizations. If no hit or lead molecules exist, a researcher must have a validated biological assay that can be optimized for high-throughput screening (HTS).

Screening hits typically do not possess optimal druglike properties. Therefore, their affinity, selectivity, and pharmacokinetic (PK) properties must be improved through structural modifications by a medicinal chemist. Once acceptable drug-like properties have been achieved, efficacy is validated through proof-of-principle studies in vivo.

The most promising set of optimized compounds is then slated for further development. The EPDD service can assist researchers by providing target development and assay miniaturization, identification of hits through HTS in a 70,000-compound library, lead optimization, in vitro ADMET assays, and preliminary in vivo PK studies.

Learn more about our services

View the Early-Phase Drug Discovery information brochure (pdf)

View the UNC-RTI Partnership information brochure (pdf)