The first step in the research and development process is to identify what is known as a target: a protein that plays an active role in the disease process. The idea is that the drug will later inhibit or stimulate the activity of this protein and thus stop the pathological process.
Only molecules that can inhibit or activate the target are suitable as a basis for the development of active substances. In their search for relevant molecules, the researchers scour huge stocks of substances. They are assisted in this by a state-of-the-art process called high-throughput screening (HTS).
An active substance interferes with a pathological process by inhibiting or stimulating a target protein that is actively involved in this process. For this it needs to bind to this target – very specifically, like a key in a lock.
Whenever Bayer's scientists search for new drug candidates, they start looking in our in-house compound library – with its more than 2.5 million molecules. By synthesizing new substances, chemists ensure that this collection is always growing.
The use of computer-assisted prediction models plays an important role at Bayer at all levels of pharmaceutical research. One example is virtual drug tests – where computer software simulates the behavior of an active substance in the living organism.
Only correct formulation can turn a new active substance into a safe, ready-to-use drug that can be dosed as required. Formulation scientists ensure that the substance can be absorbed by the body and the therapeutic dose reaches the targeted organ.