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New organic catalyst should enhance drug research and development
Date:5/11/2011

of inventive, creative technology, and our close relationship with the university that is helping us to keep jobs and production here in Oregon and the U.S.

"That's very exciting," Standen said. "And we really believe that organocatalysis is a field that's about ready to blossom, to become an important part of a $350 billion drug development industry."

Catalysts are chemical compounds that help facilitate other chemical reactions without themselves being consumed in industrial production, they can be used over and over. Most medicinal drugs are based on what are called chiral molecules, which are like two mirror images that fit together like a lock and key. A catalyst is often used to induce molecules to become chiral and give them the ability to treat disease.

Existing approaches to create these chiral compounds, however, often use toxic metals, which can also be expensive and create waste disposal issues. By contrast, an "organocatalyst" can not only work better and cost less, but eliminate the environmental concerns.

This particular catalyst was invented by OSU scientists because nothing else that existed was working for one of the compounds they were trying to develop. It was only after creating it that they realized it had a huge range of possible applications in the broader field of drug development.

The Hua Cat catalyst is derived from innocuous compounds such as amino acids, soaps and cleaning solvents. It has a solubility that's 10 times higher than related compounds now being used for drug development. That solubility and its unique chemical reactivity should make it a very important product to facilitate new drug discoveries, OSU researchers say.

Continuing research is already developing variants on the Hua Cat catalyst that should have other useful applications, they said.


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Contact: Rich Carter
rich.carter@oregonstate.edu
541-737-9486
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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