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New method enables design, production of extremely novel drugs
Date:1/23/2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new chemical synthesis method based on a catalyst worth many times the price of gold and providing a far more efficient and economical method than traditional ones for designing and manufacturing extremely novel pharmaceutical compounds is described by its University at Buffalo developers in a review article in the current issue of Nature.

The chemistry, the basis of a new biotech startup company called Dirhodium Technologies, LLC in Buffalo, has the potential to improve dramatically the design and production of new drugs based on small molecule organic compounds, which comprise the great majority of new drug applications.

If you tend to make things by methods that have been around for 100 years, theres a decent chance that youll make something thats already known or is very close to something that is, said Huw M.L. Davies, Ph.D., UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and lead author on the Nature paper. But if you use an entirely new strategy like the one we developed, virtually every reaction you run will result in a new structural entity. Thats critical to drug development.

The chemical strategy Davies developed depends on the use of proprietary catalysts his company manufactures.

Minute amounts of the rhodium-based catalyst can have a major impact, he explained, with 1 gram capable of producing 10 kilograms of a pharmaceutical product.

So its like a bit of golden dust to get everything going, said Davies, a researcher at UBs New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and president and chief executive officer of Dirhodium Technologies.

As rhodium metal costs 10 times the price of gold, the catalyst is a high-value material, he said.

Available through chemical supply companies, the reagents are being used by pharmaceutical scientists in both industry and academia.

Already, one major pharmaceutical company is using the reagen
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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1415
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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