While most of the industry is moving in the direction of increasingly targeted approaches to disease - through genomics, high-throughput screening and combinatorial chemistry - Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc. is following a counter-cultural path.

For complex diseases where a drug directed at a single target isn't likely to provide a simple cure, or where not enough is known about the disease to pinpoint a target, the South San Francisco, Calif., company is betting that its whole-animal model approach may be more productive.