Breakthrough speeds drug discovery, manufacturing

A chemistry professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne says that an iron-based catalyst she developed with a colleague could be instrumental in making better drugs while speeding up the development process. The potential breakthrough, described in Science magazine, focuses on the use of the catalyst to make specific changes in a complex molecule, avoiding the need to synthesize a molecule from scratch. That could remove several steps in a process now needed in both discovery work as well as manufacturing. The catalyst is cheaper and more versatile than enzymes in modifying molecules, says professor Christina White. And the catalyst also offers the opportunity to work better with metabolites, which are used in the discovery process.

- read the report in MIT Technology Review