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Improving drug safety predictions by reducing poor analytical practices

By Stanley E. Lazic, Dominic Williams

Posted 28 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.25.314138

Predicting the safety of a drug from preclinical data is a major challenge in drug discovery, and progressing an unsafe compound into the clinic puts patients at risk and wastes resources. In drug safety pharmacology and related fields, methods and analytical decisions known to provide poor predictions are common and include creating arbitrary thresholds, binning continuous values, giving all assays equal weight, and multiple reuse of information. In addition, the metrics used to evaluate models often omit important criteria and models' performance on new data are often not assessed rigorously. Prediction models with these problems are unlikely to perform well, and published models suffer from many of these issues. We describe these problems in detail, demonstrate their negative consequences, and propose simple solutions that are standard in other disciplines where predictive modelling is used. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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