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  • Drug Industry History

    Two Tribes

    I’m sitting in an MIT conference on AI in drug discovery/development as I write this. One of the speakers here (Mathai Mammen, J&J/Janssen) just made a good point – not a new one, but a solid one that deserves some thought. He called for “bilingual” people, by which he means people who have some fluency… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Congo Red

    Many roots of organic chemistry, and of medicinal chemistry in particular, often originate in what might seem like an unlikely place: the dyestuff industry of the late 19th century. I had already known this to some degree, but writing the historical vignettes in The Chemistry Book really brought it home to me. And if you… Read More
  • Chemical News

    More VSC Voodoo

    OK, it’s been a few years since I blogged about this particular weirdness, so let’s do some more. There have been a couple more recent reports of the effects of “vibrational strong coupling” on chemical reaction rates. What the heck is that? There’s some background in that link, but we can hand-wave our way through… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    Membrane Surprises

    Drug discovery folks spend a good amount of time and effort dealing with cell membranes. Our drug candidates stick to them, get imbedded in them, might have to slip through them to get to their target proteins, or may target proteins that are localized in them, can get actively transported through them or actively pumped… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Fix The Nobels Already

    This paper comes out and states what chemists have known for some time now: the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been changing over the years, very likely as a deliberate action on the part of the committee that awards it. It’s now more properly described as the award for “Chemistry or the Life Sciences”. That… Read More
  • In Silico

    Machine Learning for Antibiotics

    I know that I just spoke about new antibiotic discovery here the other day, but there’s a new paper worth highlighting that just came out today. A team from MIT, the Broad Institute, Harvard, and McMaster reports what is one of the more interesting machine-learning efforts I’ve seen so far, in any therapeutic area. This… Read More
  • Biological News

    Opioid Signaling: Think Again

    Opioids are some of the most effective and most problematic drugs in the entire pharmacopeia. For severe, intractable pain we really have nothing to match them, despite decades of searching for alternatives. The history of research for new pain medications itself calls for pain medication, because it is a tapestry of expensive late-stage clinical f… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    A New Antibiotic Candidate

    Antibiotic discovery is always welcome. Here’s a new one from a well-searched area (Actinomycetes extracts), and the authors (university teams from McMaster, Indiana, and Montreal) did a lot of groundwork to make sure that they weren’t just going to rediscover known agents. That’s a serious problem with broad-based antibiotic scre… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    A Quick Retraction

    The open-source program that I use for literature management (Zotero) set off a feature not long ago that I didn’t realize it had. A red banner appeared across the top with a notice that a paper that I had in one of my collections had been retracted. That’s pretty handy: a red X now appears… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    What Happens to University-Based Biotech Startups – And Why

    Here’s a useful article that looks at the fate of university-licensed startup (ULS) life sciencecompanies over the last few years. There are more and more such companies (a greater than tenfold increase in their number since 1990), but a comprehensive look at success rates (and how such rates vary according to the universities involved) has… Read More
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