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  • Drug Development

    Another AI-Generated Drug?

    I see that there’s press coverage today of “the first AI-generated drug” to go into human trials. Some will recall this similar claims have been made before, so what exactly are we looking at? The compound is DSP-1181, from a collaboration between Sumitomo and the startup Exscientia (out of Dundee). It’s a long-acting 5-HT1a… Read More
  • Chemical News

    How Deep Is That Literature?

    The literature of synthetic chemistry is large, and it goes back well over a century. Those of us who know the field sometimes despair of the state that literature is in – it can be pretty messy – but we really shouldn’t. It’s actually far more orderly than many other fields, and it has a… Read More
  • Current Events

    Harvard’s Chemistry Dept. Chairman in FBI Custody

    I suspect that most readers will have heard the news that Charles Lieber, nanoscale materials chemist and chair of Harvard’s chemistry department, was arrested yesterday by federal agents. He was accused of providing false statements to government agencies about his involvement with China’s “Thousand Talents” program and wit… Read More
  • Animal Testing

    Time For Better Microbiome Research

    The microbiome needs no introduction – it has been several years since you could pick up a biomedical research journal and not run into an article on possible connections of human gut bacteria and disease. There were thousands of such papers last year alone. But it’s a very hard field to work in. You can… Read More
  • Current Events


    As the world knows, we face an emerging virus threat in the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. The problem is, right now there are several important things that we don’t know about the situation. The mortality rate, the ease of human-human transmission, the rate of mutation of the virus (and how many strains we might be… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Phosphorylation Without Pain

    Phosphorylation is a prime example of a reaction that’s hugely important in biochemistry that organic synthesis struggles with terribly (as opposed to the efficiency and finesse with which it’s handled in by enzymatic processes). The methods used to attach phosphate esters in the flask are frankly pretty crude (all the way up, or down,… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Will It Learn? Can It Learn?

    OK, we’re going to get a bit esoteric this morning. There are all kinds of things going on in the world, but I’m going to seek refuge for a little bit in abstraction, and if that’s your sort of thing, then let’s lift off. This is broadly on the hot topic of machine learning, which… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Opening the Lid on Sarepta’s Drug Approvals

    Let’s talk Sarepta. And FDA approval, because you can’t bring up that company without immediately starting a regulatory affairs argument. I was not happy when their initial exon-skipping therapy (Exondys, eteplirsen) for Duchenne muscular dystrophy was approved in 2016, because I thought that the efficacy data were simply not strong eno… Read More
  • Biological News

    Unscrambled Eggs

    This is a rather eerie result. Two researchers at Stanford report that the often-used model system of Xenopus frog eggs have self-organizing properties. Extracts from homogenized eggs had already been known to be more functional than one might have predicted (the paper has a number of references to such studies), but this paper finds that… Read More
  • Chemical News

    One Sugar Turns Into Another

    As someone who used a lot of carbohydrates as chiral pool starting materials in grad school, I regard this paper as the next thing to witchcraft. Even folks without carbohydrate experience appreciate readily that there are sugars that you hear about all the time (such as glucose, mannose, and galactose) and some that you hardly… Read More