Opinion: Multi-target drugs should be in the pharma pipeline along with precision drugs

Three of the most effective and widely used drugs — acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen — are multi-target drugs. We need others like them for complex diseases such as cancer and…
Source: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Precision medicine — providing the right treatment, for the right patient, at the right time — is saving lives. The use of therapies that home in on single targets is helping beat tough-to-treat diseases that were often deadly in the past.

But we’re overlooking another class of extremely important and promising candidates: multi-target drugs. Discounting these drugs is a disservice to patients and a missed opportunity for U.S.-based companies to bring potentially game-changing drugs to market.

Most drugs on the market today take aim at a single biologic substance, like a protein or enzyme. In contrast, multi-target drugs hit several targets, which is often necessary to do in order to yield a therapeutic effect in complex diseases.

While single-target drugs were once viewed as desirable largely because of the concern that “off-target” effects

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