Chemical synthesis could speed drug R&D

A team of scientists at the University of Buffalo have spun off a company to commercialize a new chemical synthesis that they say can far more efficiently create and manufacture new compounds. Described in Nature, tiny quantities of the rhodium-based catalyst have been used to generate compounds for a wide variety of ailments. "This method is like an enabling technology, making available new targets and materials that previously were out of range," said Huw M.L. Davies, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Chemistry and lead author on the Nature paper.

"If you tend to make things by methods that have been around for 100 years, there's a decent chance that you'll make something that's already known or is very close to something that is," said Davies. "But if you use an entirely new strategy like the one we developed, virtually every reaction you run will result in a new structural entity. That's critical to drug development."

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