2017 on MedChemNet

In this article, we share a round-up of the major topics that have been covered on MedChemNet this year and some of the biggest advancements in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery from 2017.

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Jan 10, 2018

As 2017 has come to and end, we take a glance at some of the biggest developments in medicinal chemistry and drug development over the past year. From artificial intelligence to the Zika virus, take a look at our round-up of 2017 on MedChemNet.

Computational chemistry

With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning emerging as key players in the future of medicinal chemistry, big pharma and small biotech companies alike have been designing programs for the use of machine learning in drug development. From GSK’s partnership with ExScientia, a UK based AI firm, to Bactevo’s Totally Integrated Medicines Engine, artificial intelligence definitely looks set to be part of the future of drug discovery.

Alongside the rise of artificial intelligence is network-driven drug discovery, a bottom-up approach that considers the molecular networks of diseased cells and their relationship to disease mechanisms.

Non-traditional therapeutic targets

Enzymes and receptors are the most common targets of small molecule inhibition, commonly thought to be the most druggable targets. This year, we have seen an increase in research into other potential drug targets, including microRNA, the ubiquitin proteasome system and histone deactylases.

Don't forget to check out these other 2017 roundups:

Small molecule immunotherapeutics

In 2017, we had our first spotlight on the topic of small molecules immunotherapeutics. The use of small molecules as immunomodulatory agents is being particularly researched as a cancer treatment, with particular interest in small molecules targeting IDO1, TDO2 and PD-1. There are thought to be many advantages to small molecules as opposed to biologics, including cost, ability to store and ease for patient administration.

The spotlight went really well and we’re really looking forward to our next one on the topic of Drug Target Validation, which kicks off soon. Let us know by using the conversations widget if there’s anything you’d particularly like us to cover!

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases have not been forgotten in drug development over the year. The novel antimalarial, MMV390048, showed promise in pre-clinical trials, the FDA approved the first two drug treatment regimen for HIV, a potential small molecule inhibitor of the Zika virus was identified and novel therapies for tuberculosis are being researched.

Research into the development of novel antibiotics was also hot, with potential antibiotic compounds found in bees and ants as well as further development into the antibiotic teixobactin.

Neurodegenerative diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are another drug area that has been widely researched this year and research was highlighted in a special focus issue of Future Medicinal Chemistry. We learnt about the potential use of chalcone-based carbamates as a cholinesterase inhibitor for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and the use of natural antioxidants to treat various neurodegenerative diseases. As well as this, there have been developments in nanotechnology with an aim to increase drug delivery to the brain, research brought to MedChemNet members by our partner journal Therapeutic Delivery.

Here on MedChemNet, we’ve really enjoyed bringing you the latest news and hottest topics in medicinal chemistry this year; we can’t wait to see what new developments 2018 will bring. 

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