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The Boston Globe

Business

Computers may predict drugs’ side effects

Cambridge lab aims to detect potential problems before tests on humans begin

Scientists at a biomedical research laboratory in Cambridge have developed a computer model to test drugs for adverse side effects before they would be given to people in clinical trials. If proven successful, such an approach could be a significant step toward solving a major problem facing the pharmaceutical industry.

Adverse drug reactions are a costly liability, causing about 20 percent of drugs in clinical development to fail, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The ability to detect them early in the development process could spare patients harmful reactions and save the time and expense of launching clinical trials on drugs that carry problematic side effects.

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