New Modalities for Challenging Targets in Drug Discovery

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017 Aug 21;56(35):10294-10323. doi: 10.1002/anie.201611914. Epub 2017 Jul 24.


Our ever-increasing understanding of biological systems is providing a range of exciting novel biological targets, whose modulation may enable novel therapeutic options for many diseases. These targets include protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions, which are, however, often refractory to classical small-molecule approaches. Other types of molecules, or modalities, are therefore required to address these targets, which has led several academic research groups and pharmaceutical companies to increasingly use the concept of so-called "new modalities". This Review defines for the first time the scope of this term, which includes novel peptidic scaffolds, oligonucleotides, hybrids, molecular conjugates, as well as new uses of classical small molecules. We provide the most representative examples of these modalities to target large binding surface areas such as those found in protein-protein interactions and for biological processes at the center of cell regulation.

Keywords: drug conjugates; macrocycles; oligonucleotides; peptides.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Discovery*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acids / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nucleic Acids / chemistry
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Oligonucleotides / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry
  • Small Molecule Libraries / pharmacology*
  • Surface Properties


  • Nucleic Acids
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Proteins
  • Small Molecule Libraries