The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Medicinal Chemistry

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “Medicinal Chemistry”.

Although many new techniques such as gene therapy may catch public attention, especially since they can produce what seem like miracle “cures” that are the staple of newspaper headlines, older, more established technologies could arguably produce more of a societal impact. I think that it is fair to say that medicinal chemistry falls into this category; it has been the mainstay of drug discovery for the last century (at least) and continues to have a massive impact within the Pharmaceutical industry. I am very pleased, as a result, to include 3 excellent reviews in this newsletter highlighting some of the more interesting and novel developments that underpin the art of modern medicinal chemistry...

The first article, “Developing inhaled drugs for respiratory diseases: a medicinal chemistry perspective” by Elisa Pasqua, Nicole Hamblin, Christine Edwards, Charles Baker-Glenn and Chris Hurley of Charles River Laboratories outlines the specific issues and pitfalls involved in the design and development of molecules intended for the treatment of lung disease. The article also points out that in addition to development of compounds with respect to potency, but also in terms of physicochemical characteristics in view of the likelihood that such drugs may need to be administered as an inhaled formulation.
Following this, the article from: Tristan S. Maurer, Martin Edwards, David Hepworth, Patrick Verhoest and Charlotte M.N. Allerton, from Pfizer, Cambridge and San Diego, USA entitled: “Designing small molecules for therapeutic success: A contemporary perspective” discusses how drug design strategies need to evolve in order to improve the productivity of pharmaceutical research and development, in view of the fact that currently most failures occur as a result of target-based attrition at late stage clinical trial.
The final article in this month’s offering from Joshua Meyers, Benedek Fabian and Nathan Brown of BenevolentAI, London W1T 5HD, entitled: “De Novo molecular design and generative models”. The article highlights how de novo molecular design methodologies can propose sensible and novel chemical structures. Such technologies have a rich history and machine learning now offers the potential to enhance objective molecular design and augment current medicinal chemistry practices.
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 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents. 

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