"Drugs on oxygen": An update and perspective on the role of cytochrome P450 testing in pharmacology
Low hit rates for lead compounds and high attrition remain a major problem for drug development. The reasons for compound failure range from poor pharmacokinetics to toxic metabolites and adverse drug interactions; all of which are frequently mediated by cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases (CYPs). However, despite some 30 years of assay development and refinement, CYP metabolism remains a critical issue during drug development. While current testing strategies succeed in characterizing single substance toxicity, they are challenged by practical issues such as assay standardization or complex scenarios such as multidrug usage. This editorial summarizes where we stand and highlights the major challenges we face with CYPs in drug development today. The article also tries to spell out the future direction of CYP testing. The latter will depend on the extended inclusion of polypharmacy into testing strategies, as well as on our capability to make use of upcoming complex in vitro test systems and their inclusion into tiered testing strategies.