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  • Business and Markets

    Celgene Complications

    Is Bristol-Myers Squibb going to buy Celgene or not? Most such deals go through, but the exceptions are big ones (such as Pfizer’s bid for AstraZeneca). The uncertainty has come in because of yesterday’s announcement from Wellington management, the largest institutional holder of BMY (8% of common shares) that they oppose the deal. You… Read More
  • "Me Too" Drugs

    Proteasome Inhibitors, Refined

    The proteasome is quite the structure. It is the shredding unit of the cell, where no-longer-needed proteins go to be ripped down to their components for recycling, and it’s become a more and more important part of drug discovery over the years. For one thing, all this fashionable targeted protein degradation work is about sending… Read More
  • Biological News

    Targeting microRNAs

    Medicinal chemists spend the vast majority of their time targeting proteins. Enzyme active sites, receptors, allosteric sites, interfacial sites – it’s one protein after another, to the point that you can mentally assume that your compounds are going to be hitting the familiar landscape of backbone amide bonds, pi-interacting tryptophan… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Birch Reduction Without Tears. Or Ammonia. Or Metals.

    The Birch reduction is pretty interesting to run, especially the first time you do it. Liquid ammonia is not a typical reaction solvent, and condensing it off a cold finger always looks a bit like a magic trick. You’ll be standing there with a beaker of sodium or lithium metal pieces (sitting under solvent!), which… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Breakthroughs, Sort of

    We’re all familiar with the FDA’s “breakthrough” designation for drugs (and drug indications) in the clinical trial/approval process. Opinions vary on the whole idea – useful way to prioritize regulatory attention, PR device for all involved because they’re handing ’em out like Halloween candy these days, o… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Large Teams and Small Ones in Science

    I had a book review recently in Nature, on a new volume (Thrifty Science) that looks over the history of early scientific experimentation from the viewpoint of its frugal nature – the idea of reusing and repurposing equipment, objects, and even rooms in one’s house. There was indeed a lot of this sort of thing… Read More
  • Biological News

    Reaching Into the Cell

    One would like to be able to reach into a cell and mess around with its functions in real time. Thanks to CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies, we can (more or less selectively) tweak individual genes, to a wide number of interesting effects. What if that gene just disappears? What if it gets expressed even more?… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    India’s Disgrace

    I’ve written here about what I referred to as “nationalist science”, in that case actions by the Hungarian government against its own universities and the Chinese government’s vigorous promotion of traditional medicine. Now we can (unfortunately) add another one to the list. The Hindu nationalist movement in India has been m… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Odd Peroxides Indeed

    You know, normally when you start combining interesting or reactive functional groups in the same molecule, you end up with something that’s worse than before. Would I pick up a flask containing a compound that has both a perchloryl ester and a geminal di-azide? I would not, and neither should you, should someone ever be… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Vibrating Proteins, Resolved

    Here’s something that many of us don’t tend to think about when we think about enzymes: vibrational energy. But it’s long been thought that anisotropic vibrational energy transfer (VET) plays a role in both enzyme active sites and in things like coupling to allosteric sites. Getting a handle on that, though, has not been easy… Read More
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