Using Model Reduction to Bridge the QSP-Pharmacometrics Divide

Drug Discovery & Development, Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Preclinical,
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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 on the outputs or time-scales of interest. Such model reduction 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, model reduction techniques can help bridge the gap between pre-clinical and clinical QSP applications.

In this webinar, Dr. Tom Snowden will demonstrate:

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


Tom Snowden, Research scientist, Certara

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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Who Should Attend?

This webinar is intended for professionals from pharmaceutical companies, academia, and regulatory agencies involved in:

  • Pharmacometrics
  • Quantitative systems pharmacology
  • Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling

Xtalks Partner


Certara is a leading decision support technology and consulting organization committed to optimizing drug development and improving health outcomes. Certara’s solutions, which span drug discovery through patient care, use the most scientifically-advanced modeling and simulation technologies and regulatory strategies to increase the probability of regulatory and commercial success. Its clients include hundreds of global biopharmaceutical companies, leading academic institutions, and key regulatory agencies.



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