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Chemical Space: 970 Million Potential New Drugs

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posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 10:49 AM

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Potential New Drugs: 970 Million And Still Counting

There are more than 970 million chemicals suitable for study as new drugs, according to a new study. (Credit: iStockphoto/Don Wilkie)

ScienceDaily (July 6, 2009) — Like astronomers counting stars in the familiar universe of outer space, chemists in Switzerland are reporting the latest results of a survey of chemical space — the so-called chemical universe where tomorrow's miracle drugs may reside. The scientists conclude, based on this phase of the ongoing count, that there are 970 million chemicals suitable for study as new drugs.

The study represents the largest publicly available database of virtual molecules ever reported, the researchers say.


In the report, Reymond and Blum describe development of a new searchable database, GDB-13, that scientists can use in the quest for new drugs. It consists of all molecules containing up to 13 atoms of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and chlorine under rules that define chemical stability and synthetic feasibility. The researchers identified more than 970 million possible structures, the vast majority of which have never been produced in the lab. Some of these molecules could lead to the design and production of new drugs for fighting disease, they say.

Journal reference:

1. Blum et al. 970 Million Druglike Small Molecules for Virtual Screening in the Chemical Universe Database GDB-13. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 131 (25): 8732 DOI: 10.1021/ja902302h

Adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society.

I can only dream of the potential applications some of these drugs might have. Its good to know that there is still a nearly infinite number of molecular structures that have disease-fighting potential.

None actually synthesized in a lab, but the potential of finding the miracle drug is massive.

Perhaps our anti-biotics aren't so useless just yet...

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