Time for another quick quiz on whether you have what it takes to be a big-time medicinal chemist. Prepare for some not-so-welcome old friends to visit you yet again:
1. Your two main assays refuse to act as if they’re part of the same project. Most of your potent compounds in the first enzyme assay don’t do much against the cells, and the best cellular compounds are no great shakes in the enzyme assay. There’s a narrow zone of overlap, but it doesn’t look big or robust enough to base the whole project on. Do you pursue the cellular activity, on the theory that that’s the effect you’re looking for, or pursue the enzyme activity (on the grounds that it’s the right target, and you just have to get the things into the cells), or consider revamping the assays completely, or what?
2. In the next case, your disconnect doesn’t occur until you get to metabolism and PK. When you run your compound across liver enzymes, they grind it into dust. But you did that after you dosed the animals, you buckaroo, and not only did the compound seem to work OK, but its blood levels weren’t bad, either. So how come it looks as if it should be disappearing? The most destructive of the enzymes, by the way, was the human one. Are you worried about that, or not?
3. The project you’re on has a compound profile as a goal – so much potency, at least so much selectivity, and the like. As time goes on, there’s one selectivity assay in particular that you just can’t seem to shake. The only time you see a decent separation between your activity and the one you don’t want is in a compound series that you don’t like – they’re big and greasy, and although they look very active in the enzyme assay, they never perform as well as they should in the animals. But it’s starting to seem as if you have a choice: good properties or selectivity, but not both at the same time. What to do?
4. OK, let’s back up some. You’re working on a project that hasn’t really made it to the medicinal chemistry stage. The screening folks have run the target, and forwarded you their data. Nothing shows up really potent, but there are some 500-nanomolar things scattered around. And “scattered” is the word, all right. You probably have two dozen near-singletons in that range – nothing seems to show much of a robust effect across a given class of compounds. But this is a target that everyone wants to start a program on - it's hot, it's happening. How do you proceed?