The Sceptical Chymist | Blogroll: Patently inventive

Published in Chemistry

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Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Luke Gamon penned the July 2015 column.


Toxicology, the odds of discovering a drug and creativity in design.

Spurred on by a tweet from C&EN’s Lisa Jarvis, an active discussion has developed on Twitter and in the blogosphere about the odds of a chemist discovering a drug over an entire career. Some number crunching by Derek Lowe, writing at In The Pipeline, produced a figure around 1%. Ash Jogalekar at The Curious Wavefunction argues that the question is more complicated and wonders whether “the patent system has become biased toward chemists”. In the protracted, multidisciplinary development of a drug, who is truly responsible for its invention?

Over at The Dose Makes the Poison, ForensicToxGuy writes of the more illicit innovations in synthetic cannabinoids and what can be considered to be the ‘wild west’ of drug design. The creativity of these outlaw medicinal chemists in developing chemical diversity never ceases to amaze and is creating a “public health nightmare” of substances with unknown pharmacological and toxicological effects. Meanwhile, writing at amphoteros, Andrei Yudin talks of chemical aesthetics and the merit of elongated molecules in drug design, however ugly they may be.

While the chemical sciences continue to innovate, Vittorio Saggiomo delves into the history of Parafilm — another ugly, yet incredibly handy invention — on his blog Labsolutely. Many would shudder to think of a laboratory without that greasy, stretchy film. Finally, the ever-present Kristof Hegedüs at Pictures from an Organic Chemistry Laboratory tells a cautionary tale of a nitration gone wrong and the importance of a good lab coat. Even the most commonplace of innovations may well be the most vital.

Written by Luke Gamon, who blogs at and tweets as @lgamon.


[As mentioned in this post, we’re posting the monthly blogroll column here on the Sceptical Chymist. This is the July 2015 article]

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