This post from In the Pipeline talks about how venture capitalists with long careers investing in drug development have estimated in the past that only 50% of new drug target findings can be reproduced in an independent lab setting. Now we have more data on that from Bayer Pharmaceuticals.
In the Bayer study that looked at its own in-house validation program aimed at showing which new targets in the literature could be confirmed -- and therefore developed into a potentially profitable drug -- uncovered that only 1/4 to 1/5 of all putative targets were reproducible in their labs. That's right, in looking at 67 projects (47 in cancer), the analysis showed only a 20% to 25% confirmation rate.
The conclusion is obvious. You can't take the literature at face value. You need to do the work to confirm which targets in the literature will actually be reproducible and it appears that rate will be well under 50%. Keep that in mind when investing in new targets!
Posted by Bruce Lehr Sep 2nd 2011.