Discovery and development of a new drug is a long lasting and expensive journey that takes around 15 years from starting idea to approval and marketing of new medication. Despite the R&D expenditures have been constantly increasing in the last few years, number of new drugs introduced into market has been steadily declining. This is mainly due to preclinical and clinical safety issues, which still represent about 40% of drug discontinuation. From this point of view, it is clear that if we want to increase drug-discovery success rate and reduce costs associated with development of a new drug, a comprehensive evaluation/prediction of potential safety issues should be conducted as soon as possible during early drug discovery phase. In the present review, we will analyse the early steps of drug-discovery pipeline, describing the sequence of steps from disease selection to lead optimization and focusing on the most common in silico tools used to assess attrition risks and build a mitigation plan.
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