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June 24, 2010
Fungal Structures to the Rescue
From the Wall Street Journal, here's the history of the Novartis compound fingolimod, from its intellectual origins as a cicada fungus extract to today, when it might become the first oral medication for multiple sclerosis.
If fingolimod makes it, it'll also be the first drug I'm aware of that has a flippin' n-octyl chain hanging off it - a flagrant violation of everything that a medicinal chemist learns in their first month on the job. Hydrophobic bulk, metabolism bait, entropic penalty - well, there it is. I'm not suggesting that we all go out and slap pennzoilane and crisco-cene side chains on our lead drug candidates, but it's worth remembering that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
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