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The Re-Emergence of Ion Channel Drug Discovery

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Historically ion channels have been among the most attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. But discovery of new ion channel drugs has come to a halt because ion channels are difficult to assay, require specialized tools and skills to study adequately, and have historically been impossible to study directly in high-throughput mode-the preferred style of the last decade. Now, a variety of automated assay technologies are coming on the market that should increase throughput, and some drug discovery companies have developed proprietary high-throughput methods for in-house use. With industry now interested more than ever in applying higher-throughput technologies to precedented targets, in a sense, ion channel discovery may become a beneficiary of the failures of genomics, combinatorial chemistry, and high-throughput screening.
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