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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 2007 and 2008 Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference

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Requirements for a lead compound to become a clinical candidate

Franz F Hefti

Author affiliations

Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc., Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA

Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2008, 9(Suppl 3):S7  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-9-S3-S7

Published: 10 December 2008


A drug candidate suitable for clinical testing is expected to bind selectively to the receptor site on the target, to elicit the desired functional response of the target molecule, and to have adequate bioavailability and biodistribution to elicit the desired responses in animals and humans; it must also pass formal toxicity evaluation in animals. The path from lead to clinical drug candidate represents the most idiosyncratic segment of drug discovery and development. Each program is unique and setbacks are common, making it difficult to predict accurately the duration or costs of this segment. Because of incidents of unpredicted human toxicity seen in recent years, the regulatory agencies and public demands for safety of new drug candidates have become very strict, and safety issues are dominant when identifying a clinical drug candidate.