Ligandomics: a paradigm shift in biological drug discovery

Drug Discov Today. 2018 Mar;23(3):636-643. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2018.01.013. Epub 2018 Jan 8.


As productivity of pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) for small-molecule drugs declines, the trend in drug discovery strategies is shifting towards biologics, which predominantly target secreted or cell surface proteins. Receptors and ligands are the most-valuable drug targets. In contrast to conventional approaches of discovering one ligand at a time, the emerging technology of ligandomics can systematically map disease-selective cellular ligands in the absence of molecular probes. Biologics targeting these ligands with disease selectivity have the advantages of high efficacy, minimal adverse effects, wide therapeutic indices, and low safety-related attrition rates. Therefore, ligandomics represents a paradigm shift to address the bottleneck of target discovery for biologics development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Drug Discovery / methods
  • Humans
  • Ligands


  • Biological Products
  • Ligands