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  • Clinical Trials

    A New Look at Clinical Success Rates

    Andrew Lo of MIT and his co-workers have published a really interesting paper on clinical trial probability-of-success numbers. It appears to be the largest such effort yet: In this article, we construct estimates of the POS and other related risk characteristics of clinical trials using 406 038 entries of industry- and non-industry-sponsored trial… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Brute Force: Bring On the Machines!

    Well, here I was the other day going on about automated chemistry when this paper was waiting in my RSS feed. It’s from a group at Pfizer, and they’re using an automated microscale flow chemistry rig for reaction optimization. Inspired by this work from Merck, which demonstrated evaluation of 1536 reactions in a plate-based system… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Tickling Individual Bonds

    When you get down to it, most of the ways that we chemists have to make our reactions work are not very elegant. We can change solvents, mess with ligands, drip A into B slowly instead of B into A, etc. But we’re still depending on the molecules involved just running into each other. We… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Automated Chemistry: A Vision

    I enjoyed this article at Chemistry World, but fair warning: you may not. I say that based on the response when I’ve written about its subject here before, which is the automation of synthetic organic chemistry. There have been some pretty strong negative reactions to the idea, which fall into several categories. “You’re hyping s… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Down At the Small Surfaces

    Mechanochemistry – getting chemical reactions to occur by pressing, pulling, and grinding solid substances – continues to produce weird and interesting results. Here are a couple of recent ones from the same issue of Angewandte Chemie, both from a group at McGill. This paper is about making soluble compounds of the noble metals (such a… Read More
  • Cardiovascular Disease

    Inhaled Nanoparticles – Good Ones, That Is

    Never give up on drug delivery ideas – that’s one of the big points I get out of this paper. The authors, part of a multi-center team from sites in Italy and Germany, have previously shown that calcium phosphate nanoparticles could be a good carrier for delicate cargo such as microRNAs. Such things tend to… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Going After Ebola

    How small-molecule drugs fit into binding pockets in their targets is one of the central questions of medicinal chemistry. A new paper from a group at Oxford gives a good example of how varied that process can be – it’s looking at a number of drugs that have been shown to interfere (to some degree) with… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Chemicals, Shelves and Shelves of Them

    My mention yesterday of the number of starting materials needed for drug synthesis prompted a reader outside the industry to ask just how many I might be talking about, and how these things are managed. I looked over the paper being discussed, just for an example, and for its three drug syntheses it needed a… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Drug Synthesis In Printed Reactors

    I’m still trying to get my bearings with this new paper from the Cronin group at Glasgow. What it proposes is a new style of API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) production. Instead of being done in bench- or process-scale lab glassware or in production-plant reactors, these syntheses take place in 3D-printed reactors, connected together in… Read More
  • Cancer

    A Hard Look At Liquid Biopsies

    This new paper has generated a lot of headlines (Science news writeup here). It reports work on the long-sought “liquid biopsy” idea for cancer screening, the use of circulating biomarkers to detect tumors via a blood test. The idea has obvious appeal, so much appeal that many news stories over the years have gotten well… Read More
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