Combinatorial Chemistry

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Chapter: Medicinal Chemistry : Combinatorial Chemistry

Combinatorial chemistry is a technique through which large numbers of structurally distinct molecules may be synthesized at a time and submitted for high throughput screening (HTS) assay.


Combinatorial Chemistry

INTRODUCTION

Combinatorial chemistry is a technique through which large numbers of structurally distinct molecules may be synthesized at a time and submitted for high throughput screening (HTS) assay. Combinatorial chemistry is one of the recent methodologies developed by researchers in the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the time and costs associated with producing successful and competitive new drugs. By accelerating the process of biologically active compounds, this method is having a profound effect on all the branches of chemistry, especially on drug discovery. Through the rapidly evolving technology of combinatorial chemistry, it is now possible to produce compound libraries to screen for novel bioactivities. This powerful new technology has begun to help pharmaceutical companies to find novel drug candidates quickly, save significant money in preclinical development costs, and ultimately change their fundamental approach to drug discovery.

The aim of this chapter is to provide a basic introduction to the field of combinatorial chemistry describing the development of major techniques and applications.


Principles of Combinatorial Chemistry

The key of combinatorial chemistry is that a large range of analogues are synthesized using the same reaction conditions and the same reaction vessels. In this way, the organic chemist can synthesize hundreds or thousands of compounds at one time instead of preparing only a few by a traditional methodology. For example, compound A would have been reacted with compound B to give product AB, which would have been isolated after reaction, work up, and purification.


A + B → AB

Orthodox synthesis


In contrast to this approach, combinatorial chemistry offers the potential to make every combination of a compound A1 to An with compound B1 to Bn.

The range of combinatorial techniques is highly diverse, and these products could be made individually in a parallel or in mixtures, using either solution or solid-phase techniques. Whatever be the technique used, the common denominator is that productivity has been amplified beyond the levels that have been routine for the last hundred years.

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