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Proof of concept (PoC) and Proof of Principle Studies (PoP)
27 Sep 2023

What is difference between Proof of concept (PoC) Proof of Principle Studies (PoP) in Drug Discovery?

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Proof of Concept (PoC) and Proof of Principle Studies (PoP) are both important stages in drug discovery, but they have distinct purposes and differences. The main difference between PoC and PoP studies in drug discovery is their focus and stage of development.

PoP studies are more fundamental and exploratory, aiming to validate the scientific basis for targeting a specific disease mechanism, while PoC studies are more advanced and focus on demonstrating the potential clinical efficacy and safety of a drug candidate.

Both stages are crucial for the successful development of new drugs.

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Proof of Concept (PoC):

PoC studies are typically conducted to demonstrate that a particular drug or therapeutic approach has the potential to work in a clinical setting. It assesses whether the proposed drug conceptually addresses the intended disease target. The primary goal of PoC is to provide evidence that a new drug or therapeutic strategy has biological activity and the potential to be effective in treating a specific disease or medical condition. POC clinical studies are an early stage of clinical drug development, when a compound has shown potential for human therapeutic use, after preclinical animal models and early safety testing. This step often links Phase I (first in human) and dose-ranging Phase-II studies.

Key Features:

  • Often conducted in preclinical models (e.g., cell cultures or animal models) or early-stage clinical trials.
  • Focuses on assessing the drug’s mechanism of action, its ability to impact the disease target, and its safety profile.
  • Typically involves assessing endpoints related to disease biomarkers or surrogate markers of efficacy.
  • A successful PoC study may lead to further development and investment in the drug candidate.

Outcome: A positive PoC study suggests that the drug concept is worth pursuing in subsequent stages of drug development, such as clinical trials.

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Proof of Principle Studies (PoP):

PoP studies are more exploratory in nature and aim to establish the fundamental scientific principles behind a potential drug target or mechanism of action. These studies often precede PoC studies. The primary goal of PoP studies is to provide evidence that a specific biological target or mechanism is relevant to a disease and could be a viable starting point for drug development.

Key Features:

  • Conducted primarily in laboratory settings, involving in vitro experiments, cellular assays, or other experimental systems.
  • Focuses on understanding the basic biology of a disease, exploring potential drug targets, and validating the feasibility of targeting those mechanisms.
  • May not directly involve drug compounds but can identify and validate drug targets or pathways.
  • Provides insights into the scientific rationale for pursuing drug development in a specific area.

Outcome: Successful PoP studies provide valuable insights into disease mechanisms and potential drug targets, which can guide the development of drug candidates for future PoC studies.

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