The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is hosting a two-day workshop that will cover a broad range of critical concepts underlying assay development and implementation for high-throughput screening and lead discovery projects. This workshop is designed to disseminate critical information about the implementation of robust assay methods and is particularly relevant for researchers developing molecular probes or clinical candidates. Many of the workshop instructors have 20 to 30 years of experience in the field of drug discovery and will share information not readily found in a classroom or published material outside of the Assay Guidance Manual (AGM). It will also cover emerging technologies and modalities in drug discovery, including the use of stem cells, antibody therapeutics, DNA-encoded libraries and advances in COVID-19 therapeutics.
Along with the AGM, this workshop will provide participants with a broad, practical perspective on assay development and data analysis so they can improve research projects involving drug discovery and know where to find further information; identify reagents, methods and instrumentation that are well suited to robust assays; and develop robust assays and the required counter and secondary assays for targets of interest. In addition, the workshop will provide participants with broad overviews and practical perspectives on new and emerging modalities in drug discovery.
The AGM is a free, best-practices online resource devoted to the successful development of robust, early-stage drug discovery assays. The manual was originally developed to provide step-by-step guidance based on experiential knowledge from drug developers for planning and executing projects in high-throughput screening, lead optimization and early phases of drug development. The AGM has now been expanded into a unique, user-friendly collection of over 50 chapters of well-tested knowledge, much of which is being documented for the first time. Methods outlined in the manual address appropriate statistical ways to analyze assay results and accommodate minor changes to assay protocols to ensure robustness. Investigators worldwide can use the manual to design biologically and pharmacologically relevant assays for high-throughput screening and lead optimization to evaluate collections of molecules that modulate the activity of biological targets, pathways and cellular phenotypes.