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June 20, 2007
Bigger, Tougher, Longer? Or Not?
Here's a question that was posed to me an an e-mail, which I thought I'd open up to everyone. Is the perception accurate that new clinical candidates (and new approved drugs) are getting more complex? And if so, are the processes used to make them getting longer and more complicated at the same rate?
I've seen the charts on the increasing molecular weight, etc., of candidates over the years, which is one surrogate for complexity. The relentless trend toward single enantiomers is probably a driver, too, so I'm certainly willing to credit the idea that the molecules are getting gradually woolier. What I'm wondering, though, is whether this is being reflected in the process work. Has anyone seen any statistics on "average number of chemical steps" or the like?
My guess is that it's been increasing, but more slowly. I think that modern synthetic methods are making up some of the difference, but I'd be interested in some actual, y'know, proof for this. Thoughts?
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