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U-M to house leading drug database
Date:10/10/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---The University of Michigan received $5 million from the National Institutes of Health to develop the world's leading resource of high-quality experimental data sets of drug-making compounds that will ultimately take computer-aided drug design to a new level.

The resource will house the data needed to improve computer programs that can predict the effectiveness of potential new drugs, said Heather Carlson, associate professor in the U-M College of Pharmacy and Medicinal Chemistry.

"What we intend to do is make the best data available so that people can use computers to do better drug design," said Carlson, who will oversee the creation and operation of the database, called Community Structure-Activity Resource (CSAR). "Computers do a good job but there is really room for improvement."

The data for drug compounds is spread among pharmaceutical companies and academic labs, and CSAR will combine existing and older data from those sources and generate new data. Carlson hopes to have the internal data online and accessible by year's end and to start accepting data deposits shortly after. The Web-based resource will be freely available to scientists and others interested in this information.

"We're talking about at least a hundred companies, each with data on thousands of compounds," Carlson said. "Access to that kind of data really changes the landscape."

Carlson said collaboration of three U-M centers---one of which houses many former Pfizer employees---allowed U-M to land the award.

One of those centers, the College of Pharmacy's Medicinal Chemistry Core Synthesis Laboratory, is especially important because it's a group unique to U-M, Carlson said. Carlson will contract with the MCCSL to resynthesize compounds already tested in the pharmaceutical industry. This synthesis is critical to the CSAR project but it's not a traditional educational experience, Carlson said, so it's not appropria
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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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