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Curr Top Med Chem. 2007;7(15):1491-501.

Designing drugs on the internet? Free web tools and services supporting medicinal chemistry.

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Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basel, Switzerland.


The drug discovery process is supported by a multitude of freely available tools on the Internet. This paper summarizes some of the databases and tools that are of particular interest to medicinal chemistry. These include numerous data collections that provide access to valuable chemical data resources, allowing complex queries of compound structures, associated physicochemical properties and biological activities to be performed and, in many cases, providing links to commercial chemical suppliers. Further applications are available for searching protein-ligand complexes and identifying important binding interactions that occur. This is particularly useful for understanding the molecular recognition of ligands in the lead optimization process. The Internet also provides access to databases detailing metabolic pathways and transformations which can provide insight into disease mechanism, identify new targets entities or the potential off-target effects of a drug candidate. Furthermore, sophisticated online cheminformatics tools are available for processing chemical structures, predicting properties, and generating 2D or 3D structure representations--often required prior to more advanced analyses. The Internet provides a wealth of valuable resources that, if fully exploited, can greatly benefit the drug discovery community. In this paper, we provide an overview of some of the more important of these and, in particular, the freely accessible resources that are currently available.

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