Editorial Article: Accelerating Drug Discovery with Compound Combination at SLAS2016

Insights from the Compound Combination Special Interest Group Co-Chair, Dr Oliver Leven

22 Mar 2016


Each year the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) runs a series of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that allow scientists to meet with peers, to discuss a range of important issues. Drs. Stephan Steigele and Oliver Leven led the inaugural meeting of the SLAS Compound Combination SIG. Dr Leven is the Head of Marketing and Professional Services at Genedata. The company provides software and consulting solutions that support large-scale, experimental processes and automate complex data workflows across a wide range of life sciences industries, including pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and academic research organizations. Dr Leven told SelectScience® about the main topics discussed at this important meeting and the future goals of the SIG.

The SIG, which welcomed industry scientists and researchers from companies including AstraZeneca, Genentech, HP, Labcyte, and Novartis, aimed to create a knowledge-sharing forum for screening practitioners active in the field of compound combinations. The goal was to mature the field of compound combination screening and accelerate the pace of drug discovery using better science.

This year’s SIG meeting covered a range of topics including:

  • Typical experimental designs in different therapeutic areas
  • Best practices and analysis for such designs
  • Result quality assuarance, standardization and comparability (cell line panels)

Following these discussions Dr Leven stated, “It is clear to me, that combination screening at higher throughput is a newer screening discipline, which is currently being developed at many research organizations, all of them facing the same or similar challenges. The SIG forum helps us to learn from each other for mutual benefit and to accelerate the growth of this technology. Clearly, everything depends on the willingness to share and communicate. This first on-site meeting was very encouraging as so many active users attended and contributed.”

This SIG meeting was the first, and largest, focused on combination screening, which is a clear indication of rising interest in this area. This interest is driven by the availability of better dispensing methods and more reliable cell lines, which will ultimately lead to better understanding and definition of common patterns for result generation and comparison.  Compound combination experiments are on the rise and practitioners are encouraged to stay on top on of best practices.

For more information and to contribute to the conversation, visit the LinkedIn Group for Compound Combination Screening.

Visit the SelectScience SLAS2016 Special Feature for more news from the conference.