Using Model Reduction to Bridge the QSP-Pharmacometrics Divide

Speaker(s): Tom Snowden
Date: July 26, 2017
Time: 11 am EDT
Duration: 1 hour

One of the biggest challenges – and, hence, the biggest opportunity for quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) – is drug attrition in Phase 2 clinical trials. Investigational medicines are usually tested for the first time in patients in Phase 2 clinical trials. This is the point when many drug programs fail. In fact, approximately 80 percent of new drugs that move into Phase 2 fail. The major reason for this failure is that the drug doesn’t show efficacy or is not safe.

QSP is a relatively new discipline with enormous potential to improve pharma R&D productivity. It provides a framework for constructing mechanistic, mathematical models of drug action in silico. This integrative discipline incorporates pharmacometric, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD), and physiologically-based PK (PBPK) approaches with systems biology models of biological and biochemical processes. Such models can inform the mechanisms of drug efficacy and safety, as well as confirm the ‘drugability’ of proposed targets.

Describing biological systems at this level of detail invokes the issue of model complexity. QSP models are generally too large to be validated or fit in a traditional sense and they can become intractable to standard methods of analysis or even to the modeler’s own intuition. Model reduction can alleviate these issues of complexity by eliminating portions of a system that have minimal effect upon the outputs or time-scales of interest. Such approaches yield simplified models that still provide accurate predictions. By shrinking a model’s parameter space, increasing computational speed and reducing the number of modeled state-variables, reduction techniques can help bridge the gap between pre-clinical and clinical QSP applications.

In this webinar, Dr. Tom Snowden will demonstrate:

  • Why reduction methods are a potent and necessary tool in the modeler’s arsenal;
  • How reduction methods can be applied to QSP models; and,
  • How model reduction can be used to extract scientific and business insights from complex models.

About Our Speaker

Tom Snowden received his PhD in applied mathematics and quantitative systems pharmacology from the University of Reading in 2015. He was then awarded and completed an EPSRC doctoral prize fellowship at the university, continuing his research at the interface of mathematics and pharmacology. In October 2016, Tom joined Certara QSP as a research scientist working on a range of QSP consultancy projects.


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