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Modern scientific research in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery

ChemBioCenter was founded in 2002 as a scientific division of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. The address of the main buildings of the ChemBioCenter is: Chervonotkatska 61, Kyiv, Ukraine. In only several years, the ChemBioCenter occupied a leading position among Institutions which research in challenging and enthralling area – search for new drugs.

Creation of a new drug is an extremely time- and labor-consuming process, which combines effort of chemists, biologists, physicians, economists, technologists, and many other specialists. According to many recent analyses and estimates, in order to reach sales one drug entity requires more than 10 years of intensive combined effort of these specialists.

The Figure below illustrates main steps of the creation of a new drug, starting from the selection of the disease to be treated and finishing on the shelves of pharmacy.

The Figure illustrates main steps of the creation of a new drug, starting from the selection of the disease to be treated and finishing on the shelves of pharmacy.

ChemBioCenter found its modest place in the process illustrated above, researching into new chemistry and producing screening compounds and building blocks for construction of new chemical compounds.

The search for new drugs is usually initiated by big pharmaceutical companies. These are the companies which possess the resources required for the search. The costs of creating new drugs are quite large today: in average, a new drug entity approved in USA by Food and Drug Administration in the last three years (FDA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services which is responsible for regulating and supervising the safety of drugs) consumed resources for more than a half of a billion USD. It is not surprising therefore, that only powerful pharmaceutical giants like Bayer, SKB, Pfizer, Johnson&Johnson, Novartis, Aventis, Abbott and others can take the risks of such significant investments. On the basis of the careful analysis of the market, the economists of these companies decide on the disease, treatment of which would be worthwhile to pursue as the main goal. Then biologists and biochemists identify the "biological target": a biochemical processes and/or biomolecules, malfunction of which lead to the disease. In most cases, polypeptides (receptors or enzymes) turn out the targets, and drugs should be designed to inhibit or activate the processes involving the polypeptides. The list of the known biological targets also includes DNA, lipids, and sugars. In some cases the biological target is unknown, and the search for new drugs relies mostly on "trial and error" methods. In any case, an important step of the search for new drugs is chemical synthesis of compounds and pinning down those which are active against the biological target or against the disease. These compounds are called "hits" – an analogy with the show-business is obvious. Usually, the hits are bad drug candidates – they often turn out toxic, unstable in vivo, or expensive to produce in large amount. Therefore, again largely by chemists, the optimization of the properties is undertaken by synthesis of analogous compounds and repeated biological testing. In parallel, technologists work on development of the bulk production scheme for the most promising candidates.

The chemists at ChemBioCenter are experienced in synthesis of new compounds, hit identification and hit-to-lead optimization. Highest qualification of the scientists is required to do this efficiently; at the ChemBioCenter, every effort is put into education and technical support of the scientists. The best students from Chemistry Department of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University and other universities of the Ukraine are welcome to work at the Center. New ideas, elegant solutions to the numerous problems which arise in the research, "chemical intuition" are of great value here.

Almost all the scientific results obtained at the ChemBioCenter are published in the high-impact Journals - Angewandte Chemie, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Organіc Chemistry, Synthesis, Organic Letters, Synlett, Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry. Participation in the high-level Conferences and Symposiums is also the proof of the efficiency of the research.