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The first step in finding a drug to bring to the clinic is screening chemical compound databases against a protein target. There are several phases that comprise early development, including target identification and validation, hit finding, and lead optimization. Activities during these steps, which aim to understand the underlying mechanism or cause of disease and screen for and create small molecules and biologics to increase their ability to address a target, are increasingly being driven by cutting-edge technologies. Human genetic, genomic, and mass spectrometric bioanalytical technologies hold the most promise to define disease states by molecular pathway in individual patient populations, says Kalpana Merchant, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of… Sidebar: The Personalized Medicine Market Experts on this Topic Kalpana Merchant, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of the translational science group at Eli Lilly and CompanyJean-Jacques Garaud, M.D., global head, pharmaceutical research and early development, at Roche Chip Gillooly, VP of capital at Quintiles Alain Stricker-Krongrad, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Charles River