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Derek Lowe’s commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry. An editorially independent blog from the publishers of Science Translational Medicine.

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CureVac Comes Up Short

I wasn’t planning on having this turn into Coronavirus Vaccine Week again around here, but we do have some news. Yesterday afternoon CureVac, the German mRNA vaccine company, reported results of their Phase III trial in 40,000 patients around the world. They weren’t good. And the data that have come out today don’t make things look any better. The...

Chose Your Controls Wisely

I’ve been meaning to write about this paper (open access) on some problems with chemical probes, and now’s a good time. There was a well-known article a few years ago about “The Promise and Peril of Chemical Probes”, and this is a deliberate follow-up, starting with its title. Even if you don’t give much of a hoot about chemical probes, the point it...

The Novavax Vaccine Data, and Spike Proteins in General

1. Novavax Clinical Data Word came yesterday that Novavax had very good safety and efficacy in the trial of their recombinant protein vaccine. This is good news. By this point, the vaccine is much less needed here in the US, but it could be a very important part of getting many other countries vaccinated, due to its less demanding storage requirements...

Days Off

I’ll be taking a few days off here (nothing to do with the aducanumab approval – this has been planned for a while!) So barring some truly mighty developments, I’ll see everyone here on Monday. Who knows what we’ll be talking about by then!The post Days Off first appeared on In the Pipeline.

The Aducanumab Approval

As the world knows, the FDA approved Biogen’s anti-amyloid antibody today, surely the first marketed drug whose Phase III trial was stopped for futility. I think this is one of the worst FDA decisions I have ever seen, because – like the advisory committee that reviewed the application, and like the FDA’s own statisticians – I don’t believe that Biogen...

Ivermectin As a COVID-19 Therapy

I last wrote about ivermectin here, but I’m getting so many question about it that I need to revisit the topic. Although (I’ve said this before), I believe that I will regret doing it, because I expect the signal/noise in the comments section to degenerate to mid-pandemic levels in response. The mechanistic story here has always been confused, but...

A Brief Note About Aducanumab

There’s a big FDA decision coming up in the next few days: whether or not to approve the Biogen antibody for Alzheimer’s (aducanumab). I’ve had several people ask me what I think about this, and I can only refer them to what I said in 2019 and what I said late last year as well. Given the current data, I do not think that aducanumab should be approved....

Machine Learning Deserves Better Than This

This is an excellent overview at Stat on the current problems with machine learning in healthcare. It’s a very hot topic indeed, and has been for some time. There has especially been a flood of manuscripts during the pandemic, applying ML/AI techniques to all sorts of coronavirus-related issues. Some of these have been pretty far-fetched, but others...

Med-Chem Should Be Larger Than It Is

I’m really glad to see this Perspective article in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, not least because it hits on a theme that I emphasize whenever I get a chance to speak to graduate student chemistry audiences. The author, Bart Roman, is pointing out that (1) biologics are relentlessly expanding their role in the landscape of approved drugs and...

Weird Natural Product Time Again

So let’s take a break today by looking at some compounds that, to a good approximation, many synthetic organic chemists would agree shouldn’t even exist. Yep, it’s time for a dive into Weirdo Natural Products, as I do every so often around here. I’ll point out some of the more ridiculous features for the non-chemists in the crowd, but some of the structures...

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