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: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
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
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
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
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

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

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
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

« Light Blogging | Main | More Binding Site Weirdness »

November 28, 2009

Recommended Books For Medicinal Chemists, Part One

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

I asked recently for suggestions on the best books on med-chem topics, and a lot of good ideas came in via the comments and e-mail. Going over the list, the most recommended seem to be the following:

For general medicinal chemistry, you have Bob Rydzewski's Real World Drug Discovery: A Chemist's Guide to Biotech and Pharmaceutical Research. Many votes also were cast for Camille Wermuth's The Practice of Medicinal Chemistry. For getting up to speed, several readers recommend Graham Patrick's An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry. And an older text that has some fans is Richard Silverman's The Organic Chemistry of Drug Design and Drug Action.

Process chemistry is its own world with its own issues. Recommended texts here are Practical Process Research & Development by Neal Anderson and Process Development: Fine Chemicals from Grams to Kilograms by Stan Lee (no, not that Stan Lee) and Graham Robinson.

Case histories of successful past projects are found in Drugs: From Discovery to Approval by Rick Ng and also in Walter Sneader's Drug Discovery: A History.

Another book that focuses on a particular (important) area of drug discovery is Robert Copeland's Evaluation of Enzyme Inhibitors in Drug Discovery.

For chemists who want to brush up on their biology, readers recommend Terrence Kenakin's A Pharmacology Primer, Third Edition: Theory, Application and Methods and Molecular Biology in Medicinal Chemistry by Nogrady and Weaver.

Overall, one of the most highly recommended books across the board comes from the PK end of things: Drug-like Properties: Concepts, Structure Design and Methods: from ADME to Toxicity Optimization by Kerns and Di. For getting up to speed in this area, there's Pharmacokinetics Made Easy by Donald Birkett.

In a related field, the standard desk reference for toxicology seems to be Casarett & Doull's Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons. Since all of us make a fair number of poisons (as we eventually discover), it's worth a look.

There's a first set - more recommendations will come in a following post (and feel free to nominate more worthy candidates if you have 'em).

Comments (21) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Book Recommendations | Drug Development | Life in the Drug Labs | Pharmacokinetics | The Scientific Literature | Toxicology


1. Sili on November 28, 2009 2:17 PM writes...

:looks at wallet:

Permalink to Comment

2. InfMP on November 28, 2009 3:25 PM writes...

Got the first three on gigapedia for free. no need for wallet if you don't mind reading on screen.

Permalink to Comment

3. Lucifer on November 28, 2009 5:46 PM writes...

How many innovative (or first of a kind) drugs were discovered by following established methods and processes?

Permalink to Comment

4. milkshake on November 29, 2009 12:22 AM writes...

Drug discovery case histories are more informative than textbooks - if they are given in unvarnished form.

Permalink to Comment

5. InfMP on November 29, 2009 11:36 AM writes...

What is a case history? Is that like a review?

Permalink to Comment

6. artemis on November 29, 2009 6:30 PM writes...

Im suprised at no mention of Foye's principles of medicinal chemistry edited by Lemke- that in addition to Patrick's intro to med chem and silverman's book are pretty much the core textbooks for undergrad + postgrad teaching in the uk...

Permalink to Comment

7. Pats on November 29, 2009 9:45 PM writes...

a quick read;
The role of medicinal chemists in drug discovery, Greenlee WJ, Desai MC; Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2005 Jul;8(4):419-20.

Permalink to Comment

8. milkshake on November 29, 2009 11:16 PM writes...

No, a history of successful medchem projects. From start to finish, as told by the long beards who worked on it - and not in the polished way as it is presented on conferences and in articles... Like with Nixon, the most important questions are what did they know and when, and how they decided to proceed at various moments. Their success may have depended on luck but there are things to emulate, and boneheaded things to avoid.

By the way we will have Bruce Maryanoff from J'n J giving a lecture here this Friday, I am pretty eager to hear him in person.

Permalink to Comment

9. Lucifer on November 30, 2009 12:26 AM writes...


Climategate: how the 'greatest scientific scandal of our generation' got its name

Permalink to Comment

10. Lucifer on November 30, 2009 12:31 AM writes...

I am posting this because AGW is the lysenkoism of our time, and has to be exposed as such. This fraud, and the ongoing coverup might become the defining fraud of our era.

Climategate: hide the decline – codified

Permalink to Comment

11. Allan on November 30, 2009 9:55 AM writes...

Two recommendations to add: Cyprotex do a really handy (and free) "Everything you need to know about DMPK but were afraid to ask" which is very helpful to new medicinal chemists getting to grips with the area. I assume they still do this.....

Secondly, and a slightly biassed recommendation, a number of my previous and present colleagues have found the "Chemistry for non-Chemists" review in DDT (2009, vol 14 (issue 15-16, p731) useful to help them understand the synthetic chemistry underlying Med Chem, as a more general but parallel companion to Kenakin's book mentioned above. (NB; to be transparent and declare a conflict of interest here, I was a co-author on the above DDT manuscript...)

Permalink to Comment

12. incha on November 30, 2009 10:53 AM writes...

The billion dollar drug molecule is an enjoyable and interesting read, although not a textbook

Permalink to Comment

13. dt on November 30, 2009 2:35 PM writes...

@allen: what document are you referring to. Could you please provide a link? That would be very nice. Thanks in advance!

Permalink to Comment

14. Anonymous on November 30, 2009 7:37 PM writes...

dt: you can google Allen's article by title-
Drug discovery chemistry: a primer for the non-specialist
InfMP: Do you mind sharing those links?

Permalink to Comment

15. 1 on November 30, 2009 7:38 PM writes...

dt: you can google Allen's article by title-
Drug discovery chemistry: a primer for the non-specialist
InfMP: Do you mind sharing those links?

Permalink to Comment

16. bad wolf on November 30, 2009 9:41 PM writes...

anonymous/1: i assume he was asking about the other article mentioned by Allen, Cyprotex's DMPK primer: googling the title of that simply leads back to this comment section.

Permalink to Comment

17. Sili on November 30, 2009 10:50 PM writes...

Thanks, InfMP,

I'll have to look into that.


You're preaching to the choir. Derek does not accept humans as a cause of the warming trend of the past century.

I, on the other hand, think you and he he a closing your eyes and chanting "LALALALALALLAL I can't hear you!" on the subject, but that doesn't matter since this is not my blog. (Nor yours, for that matter.)

Permalink to Comment

18. Allan on December 1, 2009 3:45 AM writes...

Link to the DDT article:

As for the Cyprotex guide, I can't see a direct link on the website any more, but I assume the "ADME Guide" mentioned on the request form, located on their contacts page, should get you the guide?

Permalink to Comment

19. Mark on December 1, 2009 7:34 AM writes...

I’m a new process chemist; although knowledgeable about synthetic organic chemistry I have no clear understanding of the drug development process (i.e., what is involved after the API leaves process land). I’m picking up a lot from meetings, etc. but can anyone recommend a book(s) on the subject that might speed my understanding? (This would be something along the lines of a primer on formulations, dissolution, capsule/packaging, clinical trials, putting together an IND app, etc). Thanks.

Permalink to Comment

20. Terry Kenakin on December 1, 2009 8:50 AM writes...

Can't miss with Foye for chemists

Permalink to Comment

21. Tuck on December 1, 2009 10:53 AM writes...

Medicinal Chemistry for Dummies

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry