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Drugs Factory
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Summary
Modern drug discovery relies more on calculated gamble than on careful design. At GSK, a company in England, they have a library of over 2 million nameless chemical compounds. Scientists know very little about them. They could be highly toxic or they could be harboring a life-saving drug.
A known disease molecule – the target – is introduced to each of the 2 million compounds, one by one, to see if anything happens. With these 2 million or so compounds, they might get a few that are active against that target – as little as one or two. Chemists will then make hundreds or thousands of samples related to that original structure to try to improve that activity.
The samples must be screened over and over again. Just a handful will make it through to be tested on people. The cost in research to find a single drug is over one billion dollars and requires thousands of tests, over a period of fourteen years.
Keywords: GSK, modern drug discovery
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