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Hit detection

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Optimizing hit detection in drug discovery programs with CRO Services 


Developing an innovative therapy requires building supporting evidence about the efficacy of the new molecule. To do this, pharmaceutical companies must adhere to some key preclinical stages, including the hit-to-lead process.

Following the process of target validation, hit detection represents a critical first step in drug discovery. The quality and specific properties of the hit series will delineate the chances of success at progressing rapidly through the development of a preclinical drug candidate.

Oncodesign Services, a leading CRO in early drug discovery, helps you succeed with an integrated hit detection service.

The hit detection process in early drug discovery  

A “Hit”, in the context of drug discovery, is a compound that demonstrates a desired biological activity towards a drug target and can reproduce this activity when retested. Various methods for finding Hits include High-Throughput Screening (HTS), virtual screening (VS), and fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD).

  • HTS involves testing a large number of compounds against a target protein or in a cell-based assay, typically using automated techniques.
  • Virtual screening employs computational methods to predict compounds likely to bind to a target protein.
  • In FBDD, small fragments of molecules are identified that bind to a target protein and serve as a basis for designing more potent and selective compounds.

Once a suitable hit is identified, it undergoes several iterative cycles of design, synthesis, testing and analysis to enhance its properties and progress towards becoming a Lead.


What is  “Hit detection”?  

Hit detection, also known as hit finding, is a crucial process in drug discovery aimed at identifying compounds with the potential to bind to a particular target protein and influence its activity as desired.

Following a hit detection campaign that identifies multiple hit series, thorough hit qualification and characterization are conducted using various orthogonal methods, including biophysical assays. This comprehensive evaluation helps recommend the most promising hit series to initiate the Hit-To-Lead (H2L) process.

Oncodesign Services offers an integrated solution for Hit detection   

Oncodesign Services is a contract research organization (CRO) with a mission to contribute to the discovery of novel therapeutics agents with high unmet medical needs on behalf of its clients.

Within our integrated offer DRIVE-SM, and collaborating with our partner ZoBio, we guide and assist you at defining an optimal and customized strategy to detecte hits for your preferred target. We offer a diverse array of advanced technologies that complement each other, enabling us to screen for or design innovative hits. These technologies include DNA-encoded libraries, fragment library screening using various biophysical methodologies, and de novo design facilitated by AI approaches or computer-assisted drug design.

Our Hit detection services can include:

  • Fragment screening ​
  • Library and HTS screening​
  • DNA-encoded library screening​
  • AI​
  • Biophysics SPR, DSF, ITC, NMR​
  • Biostructural X-ray and Cryo EM​
  • Assay Development ​
  • Protrein systhesis and purification​

The hit series identified through these technologies and methodologies undergo meticulous characterization via a predefined set of crucial assays and filters. This process enables the selection of the most promising hit series with early drug-like attributes.


Discover our integrated drug discovery solution: a complete continuum from target to clinical candidate 



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