Current preclinical studies in drug development utilize high-throughput in vitro screens to identify drug leads, followed by both in vitro and in vivo models to predict lead candidates' pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. The goal of these studies is to reduce the number of lead drug candidates down to the most likely to succeed in later human clinical trials. However, only 1 in 10 drug candidates that emerge from preclinical studies will succeed and become an approved therapeutic. Lack of efficacy or undetected toxicity represents roughly 75% of the causes for these failures, despite these parameters being the primary exclusion criteria in preclinical studies. Recently, advances in both biology and engineering have created new tools for constructing new preclinical models. These models can complement those used in current preclinical studies by helping to create more realistic representations of human tissues in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we describe current preclinical models to identify their value and limitations and then discuss select areas of research where improvements in preclinical models are particularly needed to advance drug development. Following this, we discuss design considerations for constructing preclinical models and then highlight recent advances in these efforts. Taken together, we aim to review the advances as of 2020 surrounding the prospect of biological and engineering tools for adding enhanced biological relevance to preclinical studies to aid in the challenges of failed drug candidates and the burden this poses on the drug development enterprise and thus healthcare.
Last updated on 05/04/2022
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