Print Story Chemistry/Pharma blog
By wiredog (Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 04:49:27 AM EST) (all tags)
Found This blog by an organic chemist who works in pharmaceuticals, via a blog at The Atlantic.

Questions You Don't Necessarily Want the Answers To . . . Along with some answers. Answers not necessarily by me, though I may have edited and/or expanded them.
1. "Hey, who dropped that condenser out on the floor in front of my hood? That looks just like the one I had on my reaction flask. . ."

It is. Your reaction is a bit more energetic than you thought.

2. "How come the toxicology people haven’t called me about our lead compound yet? Two-week tox finished a while ago, and usually they’re a lot faster than this. . . "

The rats exhibited a 100% mortality response, and tox is trying to find a nice way of letting you down easy.

3. "Is there any active aluminum compound left in this reaction or what? I keep dripping methanol into it to quench it, and nothing’s going on at all so far. . ."

The compound is very highly reactive. The methanol is supposed to slowly react with it so it won't go BOOM. It does not appear to be doing anything, so there's nothing left of the nasty stuff.

Either that, or it's going to react all at once and go BOOM.

4. "Who’s going to scale up our candidate compound, anyway? We need 300 grams of the stuff, and the scale-up group is booked solid. . ."

"Well, we could just make it ourselves..." with a high likelihood of BOOM in the near future as reactions that barely warm a test tube in milligram scale are moved three orders of magnitude up the line.

5. "So, is this the high-pressure hydrogen line or the low-pressure one that I’m opening?"
BOOM is, of course, the answer.

6. "I wonder what the error bars are on that behavioral assay. . ."

The compound appears effective at calming mice down. It unfortunately makes 10% of them dead and another 10% violently psychotic.

There's also Things I Won't Work With: Cyanogen Azide

There were scattered reports of the compound in the older German and French literature, but since these referred to the isolation of crystalline compounds which did not necessarily blow the lab windows out, they were clearly mistaken. F. D. Marsh at DuPont made the real thing in the 1960s (first report here, follow-up after eight no-doubt-exciting years here). It's a clear oil, not that many people have seen it that state, or at least not for long. Marsh's papers are, most appropriately, well marbled with warnings about how to handle the stuff. It's described as "a colorless oil which detonates with great violence when subjected to mild mechanical, thermal, or electrical shock", and apologies are made for the fact that most of its properties have been determined in dilute solution. For example, its boiling point, the 1972 paper notes dryly, has not been determined. (The person who determined it would have to communicate the data from the afterworld, for one thing).
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Chemistry/Pharma blog | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
People would be shocked by just how by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:05:01 AM EST
recently drugs went from being Alchemy to Chemistry. Let's put it this way: it wasn't until 1990's as far as most companies are concerned.


Destroy All Planets

Yeah, by ni (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 08:58:54 AM EST
I've read this reliably for the past year or so. It's consistently great.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
Thanks for the blog link by Alan Crowe (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:46:53 AM EST
I pay attention to drug stories in the media and his insider's perspective has joined a lot of dots for me.

I loved the stuff about the proteins that go right through the cell membrane and signal to the inside about what is binding to the outside. He explains that they move about and change their behaviour (in ways that nobody understands) depending on what other signalling proteins they have bumped up against.

He concludes that it is all terribly complicated and this is why drug discovery is so hard. Then he reverses spin: think of all the unimaginable possibilities!

Ah, Saturday morning. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 01:59:49 AM EST
When I finally have time to go back and read everybody's diaries.

To point of which: You ain't makin' me read no chemistry blog, dude. I hated chemistry. Nothing but memorization. Even if it is memorization that goes boom....


Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

But it goes by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:11:18 AM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

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Chemistry/Pharma blog | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback