Drug-target residence time and its implications for lead optimization

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2006 Sep;5(9):730-9. doi: 10.1038/nrd2082. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Much of drug discovery today is predicated on the concept of selective targeting of particular bioactive macromolecules by low-molecular-mass drugs. The binding of drugs to their macromolecular targets is therefore seen as paramount for pharmacological activity. In vitro assessment of drug-target interactions is classically quantified in terms of binding parameters such as IC(50) or K(d). This article presents an alternative perspective on drug optimization in terms of drug-target binary complex residence time, as quantified by the dissociative half-life of the drug-target binary complex. We describe the potential advantages of long residence time in terms of duration of pharmacological effect and target selectivity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binding, Competitive
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Macromolecular Substances / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods


  • Ligands
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations