Bigger sandbox for in silico tox

Why more in silico tox protocols could lead to fewer drug impurity assays

A consortium of companies and regulators could trigger a step change in how industry uses in silico toxicology to evaluate drug impurities and reduce the list of wet experiments required for regulatory submissions.

So far, regulators worldwide have ruled one experimental assay can be replaced by an in silico toxicology test: a screen for the likelihood drug impurities will induce DNA point mutations. The consortium’s goal is to replicate that success for 20 more toxicological endpoints.

In silico tox methods have gained traction as internal decision-making tools in biopharma companies, but there’s still a gap in using the tools in ways that stand up to regulatory scrutiny.

“Computational models had historically been used for prioritization, but now it’s a regulatory test, and that changes a lot of things,” said Glenn Myatt, CSO of in silico model consulting firm and consortium leader LeadScope Inc. The need, he said, is for protocols that can support submissions to FDA and other agencies.

The problem is that as drug developers expand into new chemical spaces, which often bear little resemblance to compounds in public databases, there aren’t enough experimental data to

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