Birth of a drug
Birth of a drug

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Birth of a drug

4 Summary of video

At the beginning of the video clip, Dr Simon Campbell pointed out that, in the development of any drug, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied. There must be a clinical need – a medical condition or disease that requires effective treatment. Secondly, there has to be a commercial opportunity; because drug development is so expensive, pharmaceutical companies are less likely to invest resources in developing new therapeutic agents where there is already an adequate range of suitable drugs available. Thirdly, at the stage of planning the research project, it is essential that there is some pharmacological understanding of the underlying cause of the disease that the drug will be used to treat. Fourthly, there has to be a chemical starting point, often a compound already known to have the desired pharmacological activity to some degree. It could be that, if such a compound is not available, it may be necessary to generate new chemical starting points de novo, possibly from a compound in the literature. Increasingly, computer-based molecular graphics systems are being used in this process to provide suitable leads, by consideration of the shape and electronic properties of the receptor or enzyme involved, and so designing compounds from first principles.

The development of doxazosin, as described in the video, can be divided into a number of stages: the medical background; the pharmacological background; the project initiation; and the medicinal chemistry strategy.

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