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Everything you need to know when choosing a suitable multiplex immunoassay for your drug discovery program.
Published December 21, 2021
The demand for safe and efficacious drugs is steadily growing, increasing the need for fast, efficient immunoassays for drug discovery and development. The drug discovery process often starts with lead optimization using high-throughput screening (HTS) to narrow down huge compound libraries to a few promising candidates. HTS requires scalable, high-quality immunoassays to identify the candidates quickly, efficiently, and with minimal costs.
Single analyte immunoassays, such as ELISA, were historically used and are still invaluable in early discovery and measuring therapeutic responses in clinical trials. However, they are inefficient in terms of cost, labor, time, and sample volume required when measuring more than one target protein in HTS. Multiplex immunoassays address those challenges by studying several targets in a single well using minimal amounts of sample and exponentially increasing the number of data points collected in HTS.
Tackling more complex conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disease using increasingly advanced techniques has led to more demand for multiple analyte analyses. For this reason, multiplex assays have become a necessary part of drug discovery as they help identify valid drug candidates earlier in the screening process. Multiplexing achieves this by generating more biologically relevant data from limited sample volume, as various plausible targets are monitored in a single well, eliminating the need for separate sample/control for each target and reducing the coefficient of variability in downstream analysis. Furthermore, multiplex assays can simultaneously look at a target, downstream events, and parallel pathways, thus helping us better identify the participating pathways and players, leading to better drug efficacy. This way, screening can effectively eliminate toxic/ineffective compounds early in the discovery pipeline, decreasing later-stage failures and avoiding costly mistakes1-3.
This guide aims to highlight the value of multiplexing in drug discovery and assist in choosing the most suitable multiplex immunoassay for your drug discovery program. The first chapters discuss the advantages of multiplexing and its value for drug discovery. The following chapters highlight the key factors to consider when choosing a multiplex assay and provide a comprehensive overview of various multiplex assay techniques used in screening.
Figure 1. The main factors to consider when choosing a multiplex assay for use in drug discovery.