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J Med Chem. 2013 Sep 26;56(18):7161-76. doi: 10.1021/jm400132d. Epub 2013 May 31.

Contributions of academic laboratories to the discovery and development of chemical biology tools.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Chemical Diversity Center (UP-CDC) , 3501 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, United States.


The academic setting provides an environment that may foster success in the discovery of certain types of small molecule tools while proving less suitable in others. For example, small molecule probes for poorly understood systems, those that exploit a specific resident expertise, and those whose commercial return is not apparent are ideally suited to be pursued in a university setting. In this review, we highlight five projects that emanated from academic research groups and generated valuable tool compounds that have been used to interrogate biological phenomena: reactive oxygen species (ROS) sensors, GPR30 agonists and antagonists, selective CB2 agonists, Hsp70 modulators, and β-amyloid PET imaging agents. By taking advantage of the unique expertise resident in university settings and the ability to pursue novel projects that may have great scientific value but with limited or no immediate commercial value, probes from academic research groups continue to provide useful tools and generate a long-term resource for biomedical researchers.

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