Corante

About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Emolecules
ChemSpider
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
PubChem
Not Voodoo
DailyMed
Druglib
Clinicaltrials.gov

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
Kilomentor
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
ChemBark
Realizations in Biostatistics
Chemjobber
Pharmalot
ChemSpider Blog
Pharmagossip
Med-Chemist
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
SimBioSys
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Business|Bytes|Genes|Molecules
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Depth-First
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa


Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
FuturePundit
Aetiology
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Sciencebase
Pharyngula
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net


Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
GruntDoc
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine


Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem


Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Instapundit
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus


Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Bad News at a Bad Hour of the Night | Main | Genetic Optimism »

October 7, 2002

Idle Hands

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Events don't leave me much time to blog tonight, and I'm staying busy at work as well. Without going into job-terminating levels of detail, I'll say that we're at the stage now where we not only have to worry about what molecules to make, but how we're going to make them.

Those of you in the field know what I'm talking about. There are any number of ways to make complex molecules if you're just looking to finish with a few milligrams. Big natural products syntheses never finish with more than that, because the earlier stages would have to be performed in a cement mixer. But for the smaller, more drug-like molecules that labs like mine are supposed to turn out, we can only get away with making small amounts for so long. It's fine for the earlier stages of a project, but eventually you'll need more.

If your stuff starts to look interesting, then everyone wants a vial of it. More assays, more animal tests, more safety and formulation and toxicity tests - folks just come out of the floor grates reaching for the stuff. (Medicinal chemists always complain that some of the other departments go through our compounds as if they thought we had barrels with metal scoops chained to them.) That means that a synthesis has to be worked out that can provide gram quantities of material (without having to make people work night and day like they were in graduate school.)

So it has to work well, and work every time, and work in a way that any reasonably competent chemist can sit right down and do it, too. As the compound needs increase, the constraints on the chemistry get more esoteric: can't use that solvent, because we can't get tank cars of it. Can't use that reagent, because the waste stream it generates is too expensive. Can't use that reaction, because once every hundred times it could take off and ventilate the place. We're not at the stage where we have to worry about such things - yet. I hope we end up having to, though, because those sorts of worries are the ones that attach to compounds that can become drugs.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Life in the Drug Labs


COMMENTS

EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
A Last Summer Day Off
The Early FDA
Drug Repurposing
The Smallest Drugs
Life Is Too Short For Some Journal Feeds
A New Look at Phenotypic Screening
Small Molecules - Really, Really Small
InterMune Bought