High attrition rates in drug discovery call for new approaches to improve target validation. Academia is filling gaps, but often lacks the experience and resources of the pharmaceutical industry resulting in poorly characterized tool compounds.
The SGC has established an open access chemical probe consortium, currently encompassing ten pharmaceutical companies. One of its mandates is to create well-characterized inhibitors (chemical probes) for epigenetic targets to enable new biology and target validation for drug development.
Epigenetic probe compounds have proven to be very valuable and have not only spurred a plethora of novel biological findings, but also provided starting points for clinical trials. These probes have proven to be critical complementation to traditional genetic targeting strategies and provided sometimes surprising results.