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Model-based design (MBD) has been successfully applied in the automotive, chemical, and aerospace industries. Here we discuss the possible application of engineering-based MBD approaches to drug discovery. One of the biggest challenges in drug discovery is the high attrition rate of new drugs in development: Many promising candidates prove ineffective or toxic in animal or human testing. More often than not, these failures are the result of a poor understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the biological systems they target. Recent advances in biological systems modeling make MBD an attractive approach to improve drug development. We elaborate on the view that the pharmaceutical industry should be able to use MBD to design new drugs more effectively. There are significant differences between drug discovery and traditional engineering that lead to specific MBD requirements. We delineate those differences and introduce suggestions to overcome them.
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