Monday, December 3, 2012

A morning project management laugh

Feel like this morning's posts have been bummers, so here's something amusing:

Dr. Freddy had an Ask Me Anything post recently. Here's part of his response to my question -- you'll have to go over there to read my NSFW* question, and the punch line:
There was this project which involved a super-active compound, according to the primary and cell assays, and met stab data were decent... So far however, they had only been able to isolate 6 of the enantiomers, so my assignment came to be to find the missing 2. Prio 1 and whatever they like to call it. 
I drew the compound on paper and started staring at it. That is my modus operandi. I stare problems down, if necessary for days. (I think it was Einstein who said something like: it’s not that I’m smarter than most people, I just tend to stay with problems longer.) After almost a full working day — my brain is pretty slow in 3D space — it suddenly struck me. A C2-symmetry element! There could only be 4 enantiomers!
 Seriously, the story gets better. Go over there and read it.

*I used a technical term for a project that is not going well. The Navy calls it a Charlie Fox, I believe. 


  1. I think you want to say 8 or 4 stereoisomers. Or 4 or 2 SETS of enantiomers. I hate to be this guy, but it is a picky point that is fairly pervasive.

    1. It's OK to be that guy! I even updated my post accordingly, TYVM anonymous.

      No, but seriously, this is the part I love most about blogging; the never-ending and free of charge process of peer reviewing that happens in the comments.

  2. They really isolated six stereoisomers? That has to be the funniest part.

  3. this proves that medicinal chemists should have a decent model kit at hand and build their best active molecules so that they could hold them in their hand or put them on their bookshelf and stare at their shapes. Molecular modeling is all nice and quite easily available (PyMol) but the ease of connecting stick-and-ball atoms beats it, if the purpose is to get a qualitative idea about shape and ossible conformers/ My favorite (cheapo) alternative is HGS 5000 Biochemistry molecular model set, if you buy two sets. For more demanding (and richer) custommers the HGS7000 Stereochemistry set would be a good choice.

    (Way back when I was doing medchem I designed some rather selective and potent spiro compound series only because a molecular model gave me the idea about the preferred conformation of our lead compounds)

    1. Agree. Stick-and-ball models are a must. Not only in medicinal chemistry.


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