Knockouts model the 100 best-selling drugs--will they model the next 100?

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2003 Jan;2(1):38-51. doi: 10.1038/nrd987.


The biopharmaceutical industry is currently faced with a tremendous number of potential drug targets identified through the sequencing of the human genome. The challenge ahead is to delineate those targets with the greatest value for therapeutic intervention. Here, we critically evaluate mouse-knockout technology for target discovery and validation. A retrospective evaluation of the knockout phenotypes for the targets of the 100 best-selling drugs indicates that these phenotypes correlate well with known drug efficacy, illuminating a productive path forward for discovering future drug targets. Prospective mining of the druggable genome is being catalysed by large-scale mouse knockout programs combined with phenotypic screens focused on identifying targets that modulate mammalian physiology in a therapeutically relevant manner.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout / genetics*
  • Pharmacology / trends*
  • Receptors, Drug / genetics


  • Receptors, Drug