Similarity in drugs: reflections on analogue design

Wermuth CG
Drug Discovery Today - vol. 11 348-354 (2006)

Drug Discovery Today

A survey of novel small-molecule therapeutics reveals that the majority of them result from analogue design and that their market value represents two-thirds of all small-molecule sales. In natural science, the term analogue, derived from the Latin and Greek analogia, has always been used to describe structural and functional similarity. Extended to drugs, this definition implies that the analogue of an existing drug molecule shares structural and pharmacological similarities with the original compound. Formally, this definition allows the establishment of three categories of drug analogues: analogues possessing chemical and pharmacological similarities (direct analogues); analogues possessing structural similarities only (structural analogues); and chemically different compounds displaying similar pharmacological properties (functional analogues). ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.