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  • Business and Markets

    GSK Rearranges, Once More

    There have been a lot of announcements in the biopharma field this week, and I’m just now getting around to GlaxoSmithKline’s from a couple of days ago. The company announced that they’re dropping 30 R&D programs and refocusing the ones that are left. Cancer and immunology are now back in favor, and rare disease programs… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    AstraZeneca Gets the Bad News

    After writing about Merck’s successes (so far) in immuno-oncology, it’s time to write about AstraZeneca’s failure. When the rumors started flying about Pascal Soriot leaving the company, one of the speculations was that the MYSTIC trial of the company’s PD-L1 (Imfinzi, durvalumab) and CTLA4 (trememelimab) therapies might be… Read More
  • Cancer

    The Keytruda Story

    This is a good history of Keytruda, the Merck immuno-oncology blockbuster, from David Shaywitz. Most big drugs have a tangled history, and this one is certainly not going to break tradition. As witness: It was discovered accidentally, by biotech scientists looking for drugs that would tamp down the immune response in patients with autoimmune diseas… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Nature Doesn’t Abhor a Vacuum As Much As You’d Think

    I wrote some years ago about the case of a protein that seemed to have a completely empty binding pocket – empty, as in not even any water molecules hanging around in there. There are a number of these known, and there’s a lot of arguing about them among both experimental and computational chemists. You’d… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Phenotypic Screening: The State of the Art

    I can recommend this article on phenotypic drug discovery from the latest Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. (For the nonspecialists in the crowd, there are two broad categories of screening for drug leads. One is “target-directed”, where you have an idea from other studies about what protein or pathway you want to affect, and you set… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    Gainful Employment

    Since many people have checked in with me to see how things have been going, I wanted to mention that today is, in fact, my first day on my new job. I’m very happy to report this, both for the obvious reasons, and because the research I’ll be doing looks to be very interesting and complex, and… Read More
  • Natural Products

    Sodium Benzoate Nonsense

    I don’t spend a lot of time on the blog swatting down idiotic ideas about chemicals. It’s a full time job, and (see next post) I already have a full time job. It’s also frustrating work, because the supply of idiocy is apparently beyond limit, and just when you think you’ve seen the most clueless… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Rise of the Electron Beams

    There was apparently a very impressive talk from Sriram Subramaniam on cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) at the Computer-Assisted Drug Design Gordon Conference, and I can well believe it. That field has grown tremendously in capabilities in recent years, and is producing some startling results – and those results are coming faster all the t… Read More
  • Cancer

    Glioblastoma Is Bad News, Period

    Everyone keeping up with the news will have heard about Sen. McCain’s diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). This is not good news at all; GBM is a very aggressive tumor type for which treatment options are poor. The contrast to ex-President Jimmy Carter’s brain cancer experience is stark, and many people outside the biomedical fi… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    Ignoring the Literature, Selectively

    Very little time for blogging today (travel), but I wanted to pass on some words of wisdom from Kevan Shokat, from a recent Perspectives piece in Nature Reviews Cancer. Talking about chemical probes, and how to know if they’re valid enough to work with, he suggests that you need to see dose-response data (for one… Read More
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