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Discovery biology is at the heart of future therapeutics

Discovery biology is aimed at identifying strong and meaningful connections between drug targets and phenotypes. It is the foundation of a successful drug discovery program.

At IRBM, we focus on establishing discovery programs on the basis of their demonstrated, underlying biology. This not only provides information on molecular mechanisms, but also helps us to generate appropriate tools for the investigation of biological modulators.

Discovery biology is the first step of your journey with IRBM. Our three-phase approach ensures that we tailor our process to your individual project needs. We first define the project’s challenges in order to design and implement the appropriate biological, chemical and technological tools. We then decipher the results to accelerate your drug discovery project.

IRBM Discovery Biology Define Design Decipher


  • Cell model/target definition and identity check (GWAS, -omics)
  • Phenotypic, on-target and off-target knowledge (genome editing and pharmacogenomics)
  • Screening funnel and target product profile (clear definition of project goals, decision criteria and timings)


  • Target-based readout (strategies for targeted modes of action, specificity and selectivity)
  • Target engagement in cells and pharmacodynamic assays (reported-based and orthogonal assays)
  • Cell interrogation via phenotypic/functional readout (primary cells, iPCS, ES)
  • In vivo readouts (transcriptional profiling, circulating protein biomarkers, efficacy endpoints)


  • Identification of key molecular interaction and network
  • Establishment of criteria for target engagement to obtain a functional effect
  • Definition of disease-relevant inclusion criteria for a seamless drug discovery progression

Defining the key challenges of a project enables us to ask the most relevant biological questions. This ensures that experimental work is focused on answering these questions, and is not wasted on poorly relevant details. An optimal experimental design often enables seamless generation of assays that are later used to drive a successful drug discovery program.

Discovery biology is the place where everything starts, and the better it is conducted, the higher the chance of succeeding in your drug discovery program.

IRBM Biotech Lab
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