Archive by category | Drug discovery

Patent database of 15 million chemical structures goes public

The internet’s wealth of free chemistry data just got significantly larger. Today, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) has launched a website – – that allows anyone to search through 15 million chemical structures, extracted automatically by data-mining software from world patents.  Read more

Researchers push for more funding as dementia cases rise

The number of people living with dementia around the world is now estimated at 44 million, or up 22% from three years ago, according to a report released today by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), a federation of Alzheimer’s associations around the world.  Read more

Initiative gets $1.3 million to verify findings of 50 high-profile cancer papers

One of the major concerns in biomedical research today is that many basic findings cannot be easily replicated by other labs. Might the literature be stuffed with flukes and unrepeatable results, not sufficiently checked out before publication, and rarely repeated by other labs? Such doubts have increased in the past year, especially after scientists at Amgen and Bayer reported that they had been unable to reproduce the vast majority of ‘landmark’ papers describing promising approaches to treat disease.  Read more

Pharma industry moves towards greater openness

The pharmaceutical industry has signalled its willingness to open up the vast reservoirs of research data held by its companies this week. But campaigners and researchers pushing for more access to clinical trial data say the moves are little and late.  Read more

NIH retires most research chimpanzees

NIH retires most research chimpanzees

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that it will retire to sanctuary nearly all of its research chimpanzees – about 310 animals —  leaving a rump colony of up to fifty animals available to researchers who can meet high ethical and regulatory hurdles for using them.  Read more

NIH funds effort to resurrect abandoned drugs for new uses

The most visible project of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) new translational medicine centre came a little closer to reality today, with the announcement of nine awards that pair academic scientists with cast-off compounds from the pharmaceutical industry.  The aim of the plainly-named Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules programme is to reemploy abandoned drugs for new uses — and in the process, show Congress that NIH’s youngest centre is delivering for the US taxpayer.  Read more

First-in-class cancer drug approved to fight melanoma

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first cancer drug to inhibit a protein – called MEK – that acts in a pathway that fuels tumour growth. The drug, called Mekinist (trametinib), was approved on 29 May for use in advanced melanomas with specific mutations. Other MEK-targeting drugs are being studied in a wide range of tumours, including lung and thyroid cancers.  Read more