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  • Cancer

    Bungee Jumping with PPAR Drugs

    The PPAR family (known in the US as alpha, gamma, and delta, for obscure historical reasons) is one of those biological jungles that keep us all employed. They’re nuclear receptors, and thus they’re involved in up- and down-regulation of hundreds of genes. Like most of the other nuclear receptors, they do that by responding to… Read More
  • Patents and IP

    Back for More

    I’ve spaded through the heap of e-mail at home and at work, and I’m ready to get going again. My lab is on another new project, which means that I need to clear my desk of the piles of notes and papers from the last one. Some of those will go into the permanent files… Read More
  • How Do You Know When to Stop?

    Qetzal makes a good point in the comments to the previous post: “fail quickly” is fine, but when are you sure that you’ve failed? It’s a real problem. Medicinal chemists like me are notorious for always having another chemical series to try, another set of modifications that just might do the trick. We can go… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Lighting Out for the Frontier

    Next week I’ll be on vacation, and this week I find myself flogging the chemistry databases. We’re looking at a new series of compounds with some interesting activity, and they’re easy to make. That’s the problem. They’re so easy to make that everyone has made them. That means trouble, because there’s so much pri… Read More
  • Current Events

    Happy Fourth of July

    July 4th here: my two small children are splashing around in an inflatable pool out in the yard while I check the whole pork shoulder that’s been cooking since about seven in the morning. More soaked hickory chips go in. (Where I grew up on the Delta, you can spot the barbecue restaurants because they… Read More
  • Drug Development

    The Two Ends of the Stick

    I wanted to emphasize a point I made yesterday, about how far removed the research organization is from the sales force in a drug company. I’m not backing away from them, just pointing out that we’re at completely opposite ends of a company’s functions. By the time a drug gets into the hands of the… Read More
  • Drug Prices

    So What’s Wrong With A Little Money Changing Hands?

    The marketing practices mentioned in the last posting sound a lot like radio-station payola – paying to get a song on the air. There was an interesting defense of this practice mounted recently over at Marginal Revolution (see the first three postings here. Is there a difference in this case? (I mean, short of the… Read More
  • The Dark Side

    No Defense

    In case anyone has me pegged as a reliable apologist for the pharmaceutical industry, I’d like to direct you to this article in the Sunday New York Times. It details marketing practices (in this case, from Schering-Plough) that, if reported accurately, amount to little more than programmatic bribery of physicians. I can’t defend this st… Read More
  • Drug Industry History

    Loose Lips

    A recent comment to the “Dumpster Diving for Data” post below mentioned a rumor that a supplier of oligonucleotides was comparing orders against GenBank sequences. For those outside the field, what all that means is that supposedly a company that makes custom small sequences of DNA was looking through a public DNA database, trying to… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    Summer Hours

    I’m only going to be at the Wonder Drug Factory for a half day on Friday, and there’s not much time to post tonight, either. I wanted to let everyone know that I’m not going to hit the once-a-day update schedule reliably during the summer, what with all the summery activities going on (and with… Read More