An analysis of the properties of genes and proteins that serve as targets for nearly a thousand drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration identified characteristics that are common among effective and high-revenue medications. The analysis was conducted by researchers from Columbia University in New York City and the University of Chicago Medical Center (Yao L and Rzhetsky A. Genome Res. 2008;18:206-213).
The researchers found that 62% of successful drugs have only one target. “Connectivity” of the target also appears to be important—effective targets interact with about 9 other genes or proteins. Successful drugs also tend to bridge 2 or more clusters of interacting molecules. Also, limited variation of a target is best, so that the drug works the same way in most individuals.
The best targets also are primarily expressed in one specific tissue.
Hampton T. Drug Targeting. JAMA. 2008;299(9):1008. doi:10.1001/jama.299.9.1008-a