Carnegie Mellon Researchers Are Developing A New Molecular Template for Drug Makers

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Carnegie Mellon University

    PITTSBURGH, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnegie Mellon University
 researchers are creating a new molecular template that may lead to major
 breakthroughs in the way drugs are manufactured for the pharmaceutical
 industry.
     Chemical engineering researchers Andy Gellman and David Sholl are
 developing new solid surfaces that can be used to distinguish between the
 "left-handed" and "right-handed" versions of molecules that appear identical.
 Both researchers are developing surfaces that will help the pharmaceutical
 industry determine the molecular properties of drugs.
     The research is vital for developing more economical and purer drugs for
 consumers and physicians as the $145 billion pharmaceutical industry struggles
 to shorten the time-to-market for a blockbuster.  A blockbuster is a drug that
 sells for more than $1 billion per year.
     So, Gellman and Sholl are creating a new class of surfaces that will help
 drug makers quickly determine if a drug is "left-handed" or "right-handed."
 They are testing a variety of surfaces, and have found early success with
 metals such as copper and platinum.  Such metallic surfaces tend to be more
 useful at higher temperatures than organic surfaces.
     "By synthesizing or purifying the drugs more efficiently, Carnegie Mellon
 researchers may help extend the life of some drug patents and they may make
 some drugs more economical by getting them from the lab to market in record
 time.
     For example, delay in the launch of a blockbuster pharmaceutical product
 by only one month can cause the loss of more than $30 million in revenues over
 the life of the drug, according to the American Marketing Association.
     The design and separation of left- and right-handed molecules in drugs
 also can have a tremendous impact on the use of certain drugs.  Take the case
 of thalidomide, for example.
     First marketed for respiratory infections, thalidomide was later
 prescribed in concert with other chemicals as a sedative and treatment of
 morning sickness.  While the left-handedness of the drug had a proven
 therapeutic track record, the right-handed molecules of the drug were
 eventually linked to physical birth defects.
     "This was a highly unusual case, but we are developing a set of surfaces
 that will permit researchers to control a drug's molecular structure and help
 prevent such treatment errors," Sholl said.
 
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SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University
    PITTSBURGH, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnegie Mellon University
 researchers are creating a new molecular template that may lead to major
 breakthroughs in the way drugs are manufactured for the pharmaceutical
 industry.
     Chemical engineering researchers Andy Gellman and David Sholl are
 developing new solid surfaces that can be used to distinguish between the
 "left-handed" and "right-handed" versions of molecules that appear identical.
 Both researchers are developing surfaces that will help the pharmaceutical
 industry determine the molecular properties of drugs.
     The research is vital for developing more economical and purer drugs for
 consumers and physicians as the $145 billion pharmaceutical industry struggles
 to shorten the time-to-market for a blockbuster.  A blockbuster is a drug that
 sells for more than $1 billion per year.
     So, Gellman and Sholl are creating a new class of surfaces that will help
 drug makers quickly determine if a drug is "left-handed" or "right-handed."
 They are testing a variety of surfaces, and have found early success with
 metals such as copper and platinum.  Such metallic surfaces tend to be more
 useful at higher temperatures than organic surfaces.
     "By synthesizing or purifying the drugs more efficiently, Carnegie Mellon
 researchers may help extend the life of some drug patents and they may make
 some drugs more economical by getting them from the lab to market in record
 time.
     For example, delay in the launch of a blockbuster pharmaceutical product
 by only one month can cause the loss of more than $30 million in revenues over
 the life of the drug, according to the American Marketing Association.
     The design and separation of left- and right-handed molecules in drugs
 also can have a tremendous impact on the use of certain drugs.  Take the case
 of thalidomide, for example.
     First marketed for respiratory infections, thalidomide was later
 prescribed in concert with other chemicals as a sedative and treatment of
 morning sickness.  While the left-handedness of the drug had a proven
 therapeutic track record, the right-handed molecules of the drug were
 eventually linked to physical birth defects.
     "This was a highly unusual case, but we are developing a set of surfaces
 that will permit researchers to control a drug's molecular structure and help
 prevent such treatment errors," Sholl said.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X92152870
 
 SOURCE  Carnegie Mellon University