Repositioning of previously approved drugs is a promising methodology because it reduces the cost and duration of the drug development pipeline and reduces the likelihood of unforeseen adverse events. Computational repositioning is especially appealing because of the ability to rapidly screen candidates in silico and to reduce the number of possible repositioning candidates. What is unclear, however, is how useful such methods are in producing clinically efficacious repositioning hypotheses. Furthermore, there is no agreement in the field over the proper way to perform validation of in silico predictions, and in fact no systematic review of repositioning validation methodologies. To address this unmet need, we review the computational repositioning literature and capture studies in which authors claimed to have validated their work. Our analysis reveals widespread variation in the types of strategies, predictions made and databases used as 'gold standards'. We highlight a key weakness of the most commonly used strategy and propose a path forward for the consistent analytic validation of repositioning techniques.
Keywords: analytic validation; drug repositioning; research reproducibility.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.