Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Method Enables Design, Production Of Extremely Novel Drugs

Date:
January 28, 2008
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
A new chemical synthesis method is based on a catalyst worth many times the price of gold and providing a far more efficient and economical method than traditional ones for designing and manufacturing extremely novel pharmaceutical compounds.

Computational model of the rhodium catalyst developed by the UB researchers.
Credit: Image courtesy of University at Buffalo

A new chemical synthesis method based on a catalyst worth many times the price of gold and providing a far more efficient and economical method than traditional ones for designing and manufacturing extremely novel pharmaceutical compounds is described by its University at Buffalo developers in a review article in the journal Nature.

The chemistry, the basis of a new biotech startup company called Dirhodium Technologies, LLC in Buffalo, has the potential to improve dramatically the design and production of new drugs based on small molecule organic compounds, which comprise the great majority of new drug applications.

"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 Huw M.L. Davies, Ph.D., UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and lead author on the Nature paper. "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."

The chemical strategy Davies developed depends on the use of proprietary catalysts his company manufactures.

Minute amounts of the rhodium-based catalyst can have a major impact, he explained, with 1 gram capable of producing 10 kilograms of a pharmaceutical product.

"So it's like a bit of 'golden dust' to get everything going," said Davies, a researcher at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and president and chief executive officer of Dirhodium Technologies.

"As rhodium metal costs 10 times the price of gold, the catalyst is a high-value material," he said.

Available through chemical supply companies, the reagents are being used by pharmaceutical scientists in both industry and academia.

Already, one major pharmaceutical company is using the reagents to synthesize a compound now in clinical trials.

"Demand for our catalysts has gone from gram to kilogram quantities, from fractions of an ounce to multiple pounds," said Davies.

So far, the new synthesis strategy has generated compounds that have potential activity against a broad range of disease states, from cancer to central nervous system disorders, such as depression, to inflammatory and microbial diseases and medications for treating cocaine addiction.

"This method is like an enabling technology, making available new targets and materials that previously were out of range," said Davies.

Its ability to result in never-before-seen chemical structures is making Davies' collaborations with scientists in partner institutions on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus especially fruitful.

"We're using this as a platform for drug discovery, collaborating through the Center of Excellence with biologists at UB, Roswell Park and Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute," said Davies.

Davies' company is one of 10 life sciences spinoffs based in the Center of Excellence, which has the dual mission of promoting life sciences research while facilitating economic development in Upstate New York.

In addition to helping drug companies design novel leads for new products, the new chemistry also allows pharmaceutical companies to synthesize efficiently and economically large quantities of novel compounds.

Through catalysis, the chemical synthesis method the UB researchers developed allows for highly unusual functionalizations of carbon-hydrogen bonds, Davies explained.

"The method allows you to transform a molecule from a simple structure to a much more elaborate, drug-like material," he said, "so it goes from a cheap building block to a potential drug-like candidate. Without a catalyst, it won't happen."

A major advantage of Davies' chemical strategy is that the resulting compounds are produced selectively as single mirror images.

Pharmaceutical companies prefer to develop new chiral drugs (chiral meaning "handed") as a single isomer because opposite mirror images can have different biological effects and may be harmful.

"A small amount of our catalyst can be used to generate large amounts of the active mirror image of the pharmaceutical ingredient," Davies said.

The UB research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, both of which were recently renewed for a total of $1.6 million. The work also has been supported by the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT), located in the Center of Excellence.

The Nature paper was co-authored by James R. Manning, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "New Method Enables Design, Production Of Extremely Novel Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123161246.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2008, January 28). New Method Enables Design, Production Of Extremely Novel Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123161246.htm
University at Buffalo. "New Method Enables Design, Production Of Extremely Novel Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123161246.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins