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Multitarget paradigm in drug discovery

Increasing evidence that several drug compounds exert their effects through interactions with multiple targets is boosting the development of research fields that challenge the data reductionism approach. In this article, we review and discuss the concepts of drug repurposing, polypharmacology, chemogenomics, phenotypic screening and high-throughput in vivo testing of mixture-based libraries in an integrated manner. These research fields offer alternatives to the current paradigm of drug discovery, from a one target–one drug model to a multiple-target approach. Furthermore, the goals of lead identification are being expanded accordingly to identify not only ‘key’ compounds that fit with a single-target ‘lock’, but also ‘master key’ compounds that favorably interact with multiple targets (i.e. operate a set of desired locks to gain access to the expected clinical effects).

Drug Discovery Today