Jump to content

High-throughput Mechanistic Screening of Non-Equilibrium Inhibitors by a Fully Automated Data Analysis Pipeline in Early Drug-Discovery

SLAS Discovery
September 22, 2022

Recent efforts for increasing the success in drug discovery focus on an early, massive, and routine mechanistic and/or kinetic characterization of drug-target engagement as part of a design-make-test-analyze strategy. From an experimental perspective, many mechanistic assays can be translated into a scalable format on automation platforms and thereby enable routine characterization of hundreds or thousands of compounds.

However, now the limiting factor to achieve such in-depth characterization at high-throughput becomes the quality-driven data analysis, the sheer scale of which outweighs the time available to the scientific staff of most labs. Therefore, automated analytical workflows are needed to enable such experimental scale-up. We have implemented such a fully automated workflow in Genedata Screener for time-dependent ligand-target binding analysis to characterize non-equilibrium inhibitors. The workflow automates Quality Control (QC) / data modelling and decision-making process in a staged analysis: (1) quality control of raw input data—fluorescence signal-based progress curves — featuring automated rejection of unsuitable measurements; (2) automated model selection — one-step versus two-step binding model — using statistical methods and biological validity rules; (3) result visualization in specific plots and annotated result tables, enabling the scientist to review large result sets efficiently and, at the same time, to rapidly identify and focus on interesting or unusual results; (4) an interactive user interface for immediate adjustment of automated decisions, where necessary.

Applying this workflow to first-pass, high-throughput kinetic studies on kinase projects has allowed us to surmount previously rate-limiting manual analysis steps and boost productivity; and is now routinely embedded in a biopharma discovery research process.

An automated multistage analysis workflow was implemented in Genedata Screener for high-throughput mechanistic analysis. The new workflow reduced analysis time from 30 hours to 30 minutes.