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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: Twitter: Dereklowe

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April 15, 2004

The March of Folly

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Posted by Derek

Thinking about molecular modeling, as I did in the last post, brings up another topic: when you go back to the late 1980s, in the real manic phase of the technological hype, what brings you up short is realizing that these folks were planning on doing all this with 1980s hardware.

That puts things in perspective. Here we are in 2004, and we still can't just sit down and design a drug from first principles. Don't believe anyone who tells you that we can, either - if that were possible, there would be a lot more drugs out there. I'm not saying that molecular modeling never makes a contribution (I know better, and from personal experience.) It's just that it hasn't (yet) caught up to the hallucinations of fifteen or twenty years ago, which is entirely the fault of the people who were doing the hallucinating.

You can make the same comments about other waves of hype that have broken over the pharmaceutical world (combinatorial chemistry comes immediately to mind.) What I'm wondering is: what's the hype of today? There's bound to be a hot new idea that's going to solve our problems, but will end up changed beyond recognition after twenty years of the real world. Any votes on what's going to look faintly ridiculous to us in 2024? As you'd guess, I have some candidates of my own. . .

Comments (2) | Category: Drug Industry History | In Silico


1. qetzal on April 17, 2004 11:12 PM writes...

OK, how about proteomics, for a start. No doubt lots of useful info to be had there, but I'm skeptical of the folks who think it's gonna provide a gold mine for new drug development.

But I'm not sure how much buzz there is about proteomics in big pharma. I'm more of a small biotechie myself.

RNAi is another, but again, maybe more of a biotech hype.

Seems to me you folks in big pharma would love to think that high throughput screening would be another. Never been involved in that myself, but seems like you would love to have something more elegant to replace such a brute force method. Something that worked, that is. True?

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2. jeff on April 24, 2004 1:11 PM writes...

does anyone have derek lowes email or know how to get hold of a natural version of apo-a1

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