Lead compound

Lead compound

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A lead compound in drug discovery
Drug discovery
In the fields of medicine, biotechnology and pharmacology, drug discovery is the process by which drugs are discovered or designed.In the past most drugs have been discovered either by identifying the active ingredient from traditional remedies or by serendipitous discovery...

 is a chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

 that has pharmacological
Pharmacology
Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function...

 or biological activity
Biological activity
In pharmacology, biological activity or pharmacological activity describes the beneficial or adverse effects of a drug on living matter. When a drug is a complex chemical mixture, this activity is exerted by the substance's active ingredient or pharmacophore but can be modified by the other...

 and whose chemical structure
Chemical structure
A chemical structure includes molecular geometry, electronic structure and crystal structure of molecules. Molecular geometry refers to the spatial arrangement of atoms in a molecule and the chemical bonds that hold the atoms together. Molecular geometry can range from the very simple, such as...

 is used as a starting point for chemical
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 modifications in order to improve potency
Potency (pharmacology)
In the field of pharmacology, potency is a measure of drug activity expressed in terms of the amount required to produce an effect of given intensity. A highly potent drug evokes a larger response at low concentrations, while a drug of lower potency evokes a small response at low concentrations...

, selectivity
Binding selectivity
Binding selectivity refers to the differing affinities with which different ligands bind to a substrate forming a complex. A selectivity coefficient is the equilibrium constant for the reaction of displacement by one ligand of another ligand in a complex with the substrate...

, or pharmacokinetic parameters.

Lead compounds are often found in high-throughput screening
High-throughput screening
High-throughput screening is a method for scientific experimentation especially used in drug discovery and relevant to the fields of biology and chemistry. Using robotics, data processing and control software, liquid handling devices, and sensitive detectors, High-Throughput Screening allows a...

s ("hits") or are secondary metabolite
Secondary metabolite
Secondary metabolites are organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal growth, development, or reproduction of an organism. Unlike primary metabolites, absence of secondary metabolities does not result in immediate death, but rather in long-term impairment of the organism's...

s from natural sources.

Newly invented pharmacologically active moieties may have poor druglikeness
Druglikeness
Druglikeness is a qualitative concept used in drug design for how "druglike" a substance is with respect to factors like bioavailability. It is estimated from the molecular structure before the substance is even synthesized and tested...

 and may require chemical modification to become drug-like enough to be tested biologically or clinically.

See also

  • Drug development
    Drug development
    Drug development is a blanket term used to define the process of bringing a new drug to the market once a lead compound has been identified through the process of drug discovery...

  • Drug design
    Drug design
    Drug design, also sometimes referred to as rational drug design or structure-based drug design, is the inventive process of finding new medications based on the knowledge of the biological target...

  • Rational drug design
  • Drug discovery hit to lead
    Drug discovery hit to lead
    Early drug discovery involves several phases from target identification to preclinical development. The identification of small molecule modulators of protein function and the process of transforming these into high-content lead series are key activities in modern drug discovery. The Hit-to-Lead...