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  • Patents and IP

    Patents and Prophecy

    Like many industrial scientists, I’ve been dealing with the patent literature for so long that I’m used to its (many) idiosyncrasies. There are large sections of any patent that I just page through as rapidly as possible because they are utterly not worth reading. The parts where the various dosage forms and potential dosing combination… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Innovation, at Universities and in Industry

    Some thoughts this morning on universities and industry and their contributions to research – and for once, this isn’t going to be another long screed on drug research in particular. No, I’m particularly talking about what each of these brings to R&D in general, and about the places (both conceptual and physical) where they se… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Lilly’s Virtual Med-Chem Assistant

    Here’s an interesting new paper from Lilly (brought to my attention by Ash Jogalekar on Twitter). “Creating a virtual assistant for medicinal chemistry” is the title, but fear not: this is not something that’s come to elbow you aside at the bench. Well, not yet. What they’re talking about is a software agent that is… Read More
  • Drug Prices

    Catalyst Sues the FDA

    So now we have another couple of twists in the Catalyst/Jacobus story (for background see these earlier posts). Jacobus, now that their version of amifampridine (3,4-diaminopyridine) has been approved by the FDA, has announced their price for the drug. And it’s definitely not the price they had before, which was free to the few people… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Google Investigates Cold Fusion

    This unusual article recently appeared in Nature: a team funded by Google (and involving researchers from a number of very well-respected research institutions) has spent some substantial effort revisiting the various reports of “cold fusion” (commentary pieces here and here). That might seem like an odd way to spend one’s money a… Read More
  • Fast Pain Relief – In Only Seven Million Years

    Here’s a chemical descriptor that I didn’t know: algogen, meaning a molecule that causes pain. I would have classified the natural product I did my PhD work on as one, since it caused me substantial pain at the time, but this term refers more properly to physical nociceptive types of pain, rather than the intellectual… Read More
  • Chemical News

    A New Way For the Machines To Handle Reagents

    I’ve written here about some of the work on high-throughput reaction optimization: setting up dozens (or hundreds, or thousands) of small test reactions to investigate the conditions needed to get particular transformations to go in high yields. There are plenty of useful reactions (especially some widely-used metal-catalyzed ones)  that can… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    A Missed Alzheimer’s Opportunity? Not So Much

    The Washington Post made quite a splash with this story about Pfizer, Enbrel (etanercept), and Alzheimer’s disease. There’s already been a lot of comment about it yesterday on Twitter and in some other venues, but I thought it might be useful to try to sum things up in an easily accessible place. Here we go: Read More
  • Biological News

    The Secret Life of the Insulin Receptor

    You’d think that we would understand the workings of something like the insulin receptor by now, wouldn’t you? I worked in the metabolic disease area for several years, and I can give you the canonical version of its activities as it relates to insulin levels and glucose handling out in the canonical tissues (muscle, adipose). Read More
  • Snake Oil

    Varieties of Nonsense

    Here’s a bulletin that should surprise no one: there’s a lot of wrong information out there. And by “out there” I mean not only the scientific literature, of course, although there’s certainly plenty of that. But there’s a taxonomy of wrongness, and the biggest split comes between “honestly intended but mis… Read More