Fragment-Based Drug Discovery Using Rational Design

  • H. Jhoti
Conference paper
Part of the Ernst Schering Foundation Symposium Proceedings book series (SCHERING FOUND, volume 2007/3)


Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) is established as an alternative approach to high-throughput screening for generating novel small molecule drug candidates. In FBDD, relatively small libraries of low molecular weight compounds (or fragments) are screened using sensitive biophysical techniques to detect their binding to the target protein. A lower absolute affinity of binding is expected from fragments, compared to much higher molecular weight hits detected by high-throughput screening, due to their reduced size and complexity. Through the use of iterative cycles of medicinal chemistry, ideally guided by three-dimensional structural data, it is often then relatively straightforward to optimize these weak binding fragment hits into potent and selective lead compounds. As with most other lead discovery methods there are two key components of FBDD; the detection technology and the compound library. In this review I outline the two main approaches used for detecting the binding of low affinity fragments and also some of the key principles that are used to generate a fragment library. In addition, I describe an example of how FBDD has led to the generation of a drug candidate that is now being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer.


Virtual Screening Aurora Kinase Fragment Library Biophysical Technique Ligand Efficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank all the staff at Astex Therapeutics for allowing me to present their work. In particular, I would thank Dr. Glyn Williams for guidance on the NMR techniques and Dr. Ian Tickle for X-ray crystallography.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Astex Therapeutics Ltd.CambridgeUK

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