The process of drug discovery for protein targets generally is aimed at discovering compounds active against only one form of that protein, chosen arbitrarily from among the multiple isogenes (variants) that exist in the population. It follows that a drug designed to react with only one variant of a target protein may not be equally active against all the forms it encounters.

For Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, formed earlier this year out of Bios Laboratories Inc., the lack of specificity in existing drugs presents an opportunity to develop personalized medicines, both on its own and with corporate partners. The company believes that isogene profiling will result in more efficacious drugs with greater selectivity and fewer side effects, increase the chances of regulatory approval and improve disease management.