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Posts tagged with "Life in the Drug Labs"

  • Life in the Drug Labs

    The Latest in Pharmaceutical Technology

    I’ve been spending some time with a batch of compound recently, boiling it in ethyl alcohol all day long. I distill out the ethanol, then add more and boil it up again. And again. Why am I being so darn productive, you ask? Well, this is some material we received from a contract synthesis company… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs


    There are some pretty big cultural divides in the drug industry. The preclinical research people and the development people always think that they have one of the biggest, but that’s not true. They do argue a lot, but the arguments are phrased in terms that each side understands. “Your synthetic route can’t provide enough compound… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    A Sensitive Guy

    Well, my poison ivy has abated, which is good news on several fronts. Besides the obvious one, it also means that I wasn’t exhibiting a reaction to a particular reagent that I was using a lot of at the same time, an aryl isocyanate. Those are reactive little creatures, and they’re known to bother some… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Having the Hands

    After working so many years in organic chemistry labs, I notice that I have all these little motions and flourishes in my technique. For example, when I’m draining the bottom layer out of a separatory funnel, I always drain it down almost to the bottom, and stop. Then I swirl it around a little bit… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Differences Between Academia and Industry, Pt. 4

    You hear an awful lot about teamwork when you’re in industry. (Personally, my fist clenches up whenever I here the phrase “team player”, but perhaps that’s just me.) But there’s a bit of truth in all this talk, and it’s something that you generally don’t encounter during graduate training. As a chemistry gr… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Let’s Check This Blank Page, Here

    I think that most of the large (and some of the small) drug companies have by now made the switch to electronic lab notebooks. It couldn’t have come too soon for me. My merits as a scientist are up for debate, but my virtues as a record keeper are inarguable: I stink. And have stunk… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Seven Questions

    As a drug discovery project moves along, we synthesize lots of new compounds, test them, and pick the best ones to make in large quantities. Simple, eh? Try your hand, then, at some of these questions, all of which have come up in the course of my career so far: 1. If you’re running an… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Hydrogenation Made Easy?

    I recently saw a demonstration of a gizmothat promises to make catalytic hydrogenation easier. If it works, it’s about time. This is an ancient reaction (the standard apparatus is pretty much unchanged since the 1920s), but it’s still extremely useful. But nobody likes to run the darn things. For the non-chemists in the crowd, the… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    How Safe Is This Stuff?

    Prompted by a comment to the benzene distillation post, I’ve been searching for some accident rate or life expectancy data for organic chemists. It’s not easy to find. I’m pretty sure that the American Chemical Society collects this sort of thing (and since they have a group rate for term life insurance, it would seem… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    The Voice of Experience

    During a meeting today, some of us were making a decision about whether or not to take a look at a particular series of compounds in some assays. I spoke up, saying “Hey, if we’ve got ’em, why not? Never talk yourself out of something that’s easy to test.” “The voice of pragmatism”, said someone… Read More