Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed an advanced activity-based probe they say will allow drug companies to make faster, earlier and perhaps even cheaper decisions about the specificity and activity of preclinical compounds.

The researchers last week published a study in Nature Chemical Biology showing that a new class of activity-based probes, which they call quenched near-infrared fluorescent ABPs (qNIRF-ABPs), tagged only active cysteine proteases and gave accurate in vivo activity readouts of those enzymes in mouse xenograft tumors.