The Current issue of “The view from here” discusses the best of 2014.

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is the best of 2014.

Drug Discovery Today has had a very successful year in 2014, maintaining an Impact Factor of 6.0. Moreover, the journal has published a record number of articles (254) this year. We have endeavoured to maintain and extend the broad mix of article topics. I hope that you have enjoyed the variety of science we have tried to cover. We prepared 2 special issues on “Systems Biology” and “Regenerative Medicine” and a number of issues with themes including: Huntington’s Disease; Exercise Physiology; Rheumatology; Autoimmunity; Pulmonary Disease; Thrombotic Disease and Cancer and Leukaemia. I hope that you enjoy this themed content.

The free downloads available in this newsletter highlight some of the disparate drug discovery topics we have covered. I will elaborate on them below.

The first article, by Maykel Cruz-Monteagudo, José L. Medina-Franco, Yunierkis Pérez-Castillo, Orazio Nicolotti, M. Natália D.S. Cordeiro and Fernanda Borges, entitled “Activity cliffs in drug discovery: Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?”  discusses the benefits and issues surrounding Activity Cliffs with respect to medicinal chemistry.  To the medicinal chemist, chemical space rich in activity cliffs represent rich pickings  for active compounds. The same cannot be said for QSAR practitioners, who need to avoid such spaces.  In this review, the duality of activity cliffs in medicinal chemistry and computational approaches is addressed, with emphasis on the rationale and potential solutions for handling the ‘ugly face’ of activity cliffs.


The second article, from Barbara Breitenstein, Sandra Scheuer and Florian Holsboer of HolsboerMaschmeyerNeuroChemie, and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany, entitled: “Are there meaningful biomarkers of treatment response for depression?” is an interesting approach to a perennial problem of how one can assess, preclinically, whether investigational drugs can exert antidepressant action and translate into useful drugs in humans. They review well-documented, recent findings in depression research, highlighting the most promising candidates for markers of antidepressant therapy response. Such tests include: genetic variants and gene expression profiles; proteomic and metabolomic markers; neuroendocrine function tests and electrophysiology and imaging techniques and proposes an integrative use of biomarkers for antidepressant treatment outcome.


The final review covered in 2014 is from  Scott J. Lusher, Ross McGuire, René C. van Schaik, C. David Nicholson and Jacob de Vlieg, of the Netherlands entitled, “Data-driven medicinal chemistry in the era of big data”.  Big Data has been of great media interest apparently impacting all of society however, scientific disciplines, particularly medicinal chemistry, have become the subject of a revolution as data are generated at unprecedented rates and their analysis and exploitation become increasingly fundamental to future innovation. Data-driven medicinal chemistry approaches have the potential to improve decision making in drug discovery projects, providing that all researchers embrace the role of ‘data scientist’ and uncover the meaningful relationships and patterns in available data.


Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed articles, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents.


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