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Safety biomarker applications in drug development

Shelli Schomaker, Shashi Ramaiah, Nasir Khan, John Burkhardt
Journal of Toxicological Sciences 2019, 44 (4): 225-235
Biomarkers are invaluable drug development tools to assess and monitor safety in early clinical trials especially when exposure margins are limiting for promising therapeutics. Although progress has been made towards identifying and implementing translational safety biomarkers for a number of organ toxicities such as kidney and liver, significant biomarker gaps still exist to monitor toxicities for testis, pancreas, etc. Several precompetitive consortia [e.g., Predictive Safety Testing Consortia (PSTC), Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)] are working with industry, academia, government, patient advocacy groups and foundations with a goal to qualify biomarkers such that they can be used in preclinical studies and clinical trials to accelerate drug development. This manuscript discusses the complexities of novel biomarker discovery, validation and international regulatory qualifications intended for clinical trial applications and shares specific examples from Pfizer Research and Development. As safety biomarkers become widely accepted and qualified by the regulatory agencies, they will increasingly be implemented in early clinical trials, play a key role in decision making and facilitate the progression of promising therapeutics from preclinical through clinical development.


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