Challenges of Modern Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal Chemistry Challenges in Drug Design

rational drug designYou are a medicinal chemist working on a challenging drug discovery project. Your main background in synthetic chemistry has meant that up until recently you have mainly worked with other medicinal chemists and mostly been concerned with "how to synthesize?" rather than "what to synthesize?". However, the annual decline in the number of drugs approved for release onto the market in recent years has put pressure on you and your team to refine the drug discovery process and use more effective methods to discover a higher number of successful lead compounds.

Computer-Aided Drug Design

As a result, the last few years have seen a technological switch in the methodology used by your drug discovery team; the serendipitous, individual approach that you once used has been largely replaced by rational drug design using a multidisciplinary, team approach which uses new computer-aided drug design methods that speed up the drug discovery process and generate more accurate, viable lead compounds. In turn, your job description and skill requirements have changed dramatically. No longer do you mainly concern yourself with synthetic problems, but the increased use of computer-aided drug design has created greater opportunities for you to work with experts from a range of specialities and for you to understand and predict the impact of your daily work on the drug design process as a whole.

Rational Drug Design Approach

Rational drug design guides medicinal chemists in their decisions regarding the next logical synthetic step. It combines knowledge and skills from the fields of cheminformatics, molecular modeling and structural bioinformatics and demands an in-depth understanding of the physico-chemical properties of a three-dimensional molecule. The knowledge base required by today's medicinal chemist has increased dramatically and has highlighted an escalating challenge for chemists to understand the growing field of drug design.

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