Biological target identification (“target ID”) is a critical challenge in drug discovery which involves identification of the one (or few) proteins bound by a bioactive small molecule or drug among the many thousands in cells or tissues that are responsible for its biological effect(s). Target ID is essential for understanding a compound’s mechanism-of-action, and provides mechanistic insights into chemical probes, and facilitates regulatory approval and commercialization for therapeutic leads.
Since target ID remains a major unaddressed bottleneck for many research programs, Prof. Andrew Emili and John A. Porco, Jr. recently established the BU Target Discovery Laboratory. BU-TDL uses innovative compound-protein interaction mapping technologies based on unbiased precision mass spectrometry to monitor protein engagement by a ligand arising from a chemical screen or structural modeling to characterize structure-activity relationships (SAR i.e. pre-clinical efficacy).