Liverpool University in the UK to run £14m drug safety study

The University of Liverpool is to manage a new European research project that aims use the latest modelling methods to better understand adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and address drug safety issues.


The risk of ADRs is a major threat to the development of safe and effective new medicines. Whilst some reactions can usually be predicted from the known pharmacological properties of a drug, it is widely recognised that our ability to identify potential ADRs during drug development, particularly during the early stages, is poor. This is especially true for ‘off-target reactions’, i.e., those that cannot be predicted from the drug’s pharmacology. Animal studies have limited value in forecasting human ADRs as they are only around 70% accurate. When one considers the medicines that have had to be removed from the market and have their licence withdrawn, it is clearly vital that we can better quantitatively predict human ADRs for new medicines in early development.
Funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI 2), the new project, named Translational Quantitative Systems Toxicology to improve the Understanding of the Safety of Medicines (TransQST), will run for a period of 5 years. It will seek to develop novel ways using data and expertise available from public and private domains to address drug safety issues. The project will leverage information and know-how to generate and validate computational models to help address the problems of safe drug development.
Hopefully, TransQST will allow companies to identify the best drug candidates for development and reduce the risk of having a product derailed by the late emergence of a serious ADR. A number of pharmaceutical companies are involved in the initiative including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen, with AbbVie taking on a project lead role.
Click here to read more about this interesting drug safety project.