What Are The Biotechs' Next Targets?
Kudos to "Biotech's next holy grail" (Special Report, Apr. 10) for putting into perspective one of the most exciting developments in biology: the earlier-than-expected completion of a draft of the human genome.
Identifying the products of the genes--i.e., the proteins--will be important, and the authors have done a splendid job of describing the current technologies addressing this problem. It should be noted that these methods are focused only on differentiating between a diseased and a normal state, without directly identifying which protein is the best target to develop a drug. Identifying which proteins interact with one another provides another filter in making a putative drug target.
Ironically, the success of the genomics era has inundated the pharmaceutical and biotech industries with a plethora of choices for drug targets, and making the right choice will be the competitive edge for the successful companies.
Understanding how proteins function within a cell or an organism may be considered as biotech's ultimate holy grail and will be the key in developing the next generation of pharmaceuticals.
Vic L. Ilag
Chief Scientific Officer