Target validation in silico: does the virtual patient cure the pharma pipeline?

Wynand Alkema, Ton Rullmann, Andrea van Elsas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Genomics has multiplied the number of targets for new therapeutic interventions, but this has not yet lead to a marked increase of pharma pipeline outputs. The complexity of protein function in higher order biological systems is often underestimated. Translation from in vitro and in vivo results to the human setting frequently fails due to unforeseen toxicity and efficacy issues. Biosimulation addresses these issues by capturing the complex dynamics of interacting molecules and cells in mechanistic, predictive models. A central concept is that of the virtual patient, an encapsulation of a specific pathophysiological behaviour in a biosimulation model. The authors describe how virtual patients are being used in target identification, target validation and clinical development, and discuss challenges for the acceptance of biosimulation methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-638
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2006


  • computer simulation
  • drug delivery systems/methods
  • drug design
  • humans
  • phenotypes
  • reproducibility of results
  • technology, pharmaceutical/methods


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