The development of new medicines to treat diseases like cancer or inflammatory disorders is dependent on the identification of novel drug targets. Target selection requires an understanding of the functional relevance of a given protein in both physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Candidate targets may originate from genetic studies linking the expression or mutation of a selected gene to a particular disease, in vitro genetic screens such as RNA-interference or genome-editing (e.g. CRISPR), compounds identified in phenotypic assays or drugs already in use.
Chemical Biology combines chemistry and biology to generate small molecule tools, so-called “chemical probes”, that enable the functional exploration of cellular proteins with regard to their relevance for drug discovery.