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  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Aducanumab at the FDA

    So it’s finally time for Biogen to sit down with an FDA advisory committee to look at their proposed Alzheimer’s therapy, the anti-amyloid antibody aducanumab. I last wrote about it here, back in December, and you know what? I haven’t changed my mind a bit, because (1) no new data have emerged (none were expected) Read More
  • Covid-19

    Don’t Make Mine Mink

    Update: importantly, the follow-up news on this story argues that there’s less to worry about than appeared at first. The mutation described below has not actually appeared again in the last two months, and it ability to evade vaccine-raised neutralizing antibodies is still in doubt. There’s a situation in Denmark that deserves some epi… Read More
  • Covid-19

    The Scientific Literature’s Own Pandemic

    One side effect of the coronavirus has been an explosion of lower-quality publications in the scientific literature. This has come in several forms, some more excusable than others. In the former category are the papers that were rushed out earlier this year, observational studies that sometimes investigated possible therapies as well. These were o… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Down to the Atoms

    I wanted to mention something that was reported a week or so ago, and may sound a bit exotic or obscure, if you’re not a structural biologist. But it’s yet another sign of a revolution in our ability to get structures of biomolecules (and others) that we never would have before, and the effects over… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    The Latest Antibody Data From Lilly and From Regeneron

    We have a new paper in the NEJM from the Eli Lilly effort on monoclonal antibodies against the coronavirus. And there’s no reason not to be up front about it: it’s disappointing. This is the BLAZE-1 trial (mentioned in this recent post), which is studying non-hospitalized patients. It was another trial (ACTIV-3) where this antibody… Read More
  • Cancer

    Click Chemotherapy

    So here’s an ambitious idea that’s about to get a hearing in human clinical trials. A startup called Shasqi is using click chemistry as a drug delivery method, and they have a new manuscript on the idea here at ChemRxiv. The idea is this: you produce a modified version of a hyaluronate biopolymer, decorated with… Read More
  • Covid-19

    More Antibody Data

    Unfortunately, we’re getting a dose these days of “That’s why you run clinical trials”. Word came Monday evening (Peter Loftus in the WSJ, and a Lilly statement) that the ACTIV-3 trial being run by the NIH has shown lack of efficacy for the combination of the Eli Lilly/AbCellera anti-coronavirus antibody (bamlanivimab, LY-Co… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Are Medicinal Chemists Taking It Too Easy?

    I was speaking to a university audience the other day (over Zoom, of course) and as I often do I mentioned the studies that have looked at what kinds of reactions medicinal chemists actually use. The cliché is that we spend most of our time doing things like metal-catalyzed couplings and amide formation, and well… Read More
  • Covid-19

    The Vaccine Tightrope

    We’re getting closer to having to deal with a number of tricky issues around the first Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for coronavirus vaccines. These have never quite come up in this way before, because (for one thing) EUAs for vaccines are relatively rare events, and (for another) we’ve never had so many simultaneous vaccine trial… Read More
  • Chemical News

    The Machines Rise a Bit More

    Here’s a new paper in Nature on computer-generated synthesis of natural products. More formally, you’d call it retrosynthesis, since the thought process in organic chemistry tends to work backwards when you have a particular target that you’re trying to make: “OK, this part could could be made from something like this. . .an… Read More