Pathways to Impactful Medicines

The UH Drug Discovery Institute hosts Sharath Hegde of Congruence Therapeutics.

May 01, 2024 /

Alyssa Cahoy

 Lady scientist holding ampoule with new medication

On Tuesday, April 23, the UH Drug Discovery Institute hosted Sharath Hegde of Congruence Therapeutics for a research talk titled “Discovering Impactful Medicines: Many Paths, Same Goal.” 

Hegde’s talk opened with an overview of the drug development process, in which he contextualized high attrition rates in pre-clinical and clinical testing phases. While there are over 1,000 drug companies internationally, only 55 novel drugs were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2023. Hegde estimated that for every 100,000 potential compounds for novel drugs, only one is demonstrated to be safe and efficacious in the target patient population at the intended therapeutic dose. 

The talk then transitioned into a discussion of four different paths to drug discovery— phenotypic screening, repurposing existing drugs, utilizing a fast-follower approach and taking a target-driven approach. For each method of drug discovery, Hegde described in detail case studies of approved medicines and shared insights from his own drug development experiences. The seminar concluded with practical considerations for drug-hunting, such as decision-making with imperfect data and optimizing optionality and focus. 

Sharath S. Hegde, Ph.D. is Chief Scientific Officer at Congruence Therapeutics and a passionate drug hunter who has participated in the discovery of several NCEs including the marketed medicines Vibativ® (telavancin), Yupelri® (revefenancin) and Aloxi® (palanosetron). He obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Houston. Hegde has extensive experience in seeding new project ideas and driving the discovery of first-in-class/best-in-class drugs in multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, respiratory, genitourinary and gastrointestinal diseases. He is the co-author of over fifty scientific publications. 

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