October 09, 2009
Metabolite profiling in drug discovery can contribute significantly at the lead optimization stage in two main application areas. The first is the identification of major metabolites, which provides medicinal chemists with information on the metabolic "soft spots." These soft spots are locations on the molecule particularly susceptible to metabolic modification, which can contribute to high pharmacokinetic clearance. This information then can be used to optimize the structure of a lead compound or chemical series to slow the rate of metabolism and therefore reduce hepatic clearance. This improves the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) properties of the compound, such as bioavailability, exposure (as measured by area under the curve), and half-life. Through iterative optimization of the structure and timely generation of metabolism data following each structural modification, pharmacokinetic properties can be improved while maintaining activity against the therapeutic target.