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  • Drug Industry History


    I have an anniversary to celebrate this time of year: it’s now been thirty years since I started work in industrial drug discovery. Given the state of the industry over that time, just being able to say that at all has called for some luck and some flexibility along the way, but I’m very glad… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Amgen and Neuroscience

    So Amgen has exited the neuroscience area, with a good-sized round of layoffs at their research site Cambridge. The company has a migraine drug (Aimovig) that they’ll continue to support, and they’ll stick with their existing clinical programs, but it looks like all the early-stage stuff is gone. What does this mean? Not as much… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    Nonsense Lives On in the Citations

    It’s apparent to anyone who’s familiar with the scientific literature that citations to other papers are not exactly an ideal system. It’s long been one of the currencies of publication, since highly-cited work clearly stands out as having been useful to others and more visible in the scientific community (the great majority of pa… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Balancing Protons

    Catalytically active proteins come in many varieties, and you can classify them in many ways. When you look closely at their structures, one such scheme might be the “solid” ones versus the “delicately balanced” ones. In the first category would be things like carbonic anhydrase or acetylcholinesterase: they do their jobs mo… Read More
  • Graduate School

    Graduate Abuse

    Today’s column goes out to readers in graduate school. Are you feeling as if you have more to do than a single person can accomplish? Does your boss expect a lot of you, pushing for results? All that can be pretty standard for the PhD experience, but here’s another question: does your research advisor scream… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Isotopic Tracers: Remember George de Hevesy

    The largest controlled isotopic tracer test that I’ve ever heard of is underway out in Arizona, in the huge “Biosphere 2” greenhouses. They’re simulating a drought in the rainforest section and comparing the carbon flux under normal and dry conditions through the use of 13C-labeled carbon dioxide. A few weeks ago the sealed… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Chiral Reactions With Chiral Electrons

    Here’s a weird one for the Strange Things to Do With Chirality file. A multi-center team (Hebrew Univ., Weizmann Inst., Univ. Modena, and Pitt) report that electron spin, of all things, can be a chiral reagent. Some readers will sit up at that phrase, and others will (understandably) wonder what I’m talking about. Perhaps that… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    The Return of Aducanumab

    When last heard from, Biogen and Eisai’s aducanumab (another amyloid-targeting antibody for Alzheimer’s) had failed in Phase III and the whole effort was being terminated. Then came Tuesday. Biogen then startled everyone by announcing that a review of the clinical data had convinced them that the drug had actually worked – or at l… Read More
  • Pharmacokinetics

    Drugs Inside Cells: How Hard Can It Be, Right?

    One would imagine that we drug discovery and development types have a reasonable handle on how much of our latest candidate compound makes it into cells. And that we would further know how much of that is floating around freely in there, versus tied up to some protein or another. One could not be more… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Tiny Proteins

    Here’s another for the “things we just didn’t realize” file. This article is a nice look at “miniproteins” (also known as micropeptides), small but extremely important species that we’ve mostly missed out on due to both our equipment and our own biases in looking at the data. Other recent overviews are here… Read More