Molecular Craigslist

I think we need an eBay for molecules. Or maybe a Craigslist.

We’ve identified some potent new antimalarials in the open source drug discovery for malaria project that are already being investigated in vivo. The series seems interesting, and we may need to explore it fully if the biological results are good. We may need to make a bunch of analogs, but we don’t want to spend time making molecules that are commercially available. Iain Wallace has been doing some lovely analysis of which compounds similar to the new hits are commercially available.

I had a very interesting meeting at UCSF Mission Bay with John Irwin this morning which made me realize we ought to be using Zinc more. A quick search around our most potent hit threw up these commercial compounds, for example. We ought to check them out.

Given we can identify relevant, commercial compounds we now need to contact suppliers to see if they might donate.

But we can do more than that. What about compounds that might just be sitting in fridges in academic labs? A quick SciFinder search led us to this paper, and we’ve contacted the relevant group at Scripps to see if they might share some compounds.

But we can do more than that too. Imagine there is a group somewhere with expertise in making these kinds of compounds, and who might want to make some analogs as part of a student project, in return for collaboration and co-authorship? What about a Uni lab which might be interested in making these compounds as part of an undergrad lab course?

Wouldn’t it be good if we could post the structure of a molecule somewhere and have people bid on providing it? i.e. anyone can bid – commercial suppliers, donators, students?

Is there anything like this? Well, databases like Zinc and Pubchem can help in identifying commercial suppliers and papers/patents where groups have made related compounds, but there’s no tendering process where people can post molecules they want. Science Exchange has, I think, commercial suppliers, but not a facility to allow people to donate (I may be wrong), or people to volunteer to make compounds (rather than be listed as generic suppliers. Presumably the same goes for eMolecules, and Molport?

Is there a niche here for a light client that permits the process I’m talking about? Paste your Smiles, post the molecule, specifying a purpose (optional), timeframe, amount, type of analytical data needed, and let the bidding commence?

Benefits to this Molecular Craigslist are:

For Businesses: Business
For Donators: Good PR and possibly a collaboration
For Students/PIs/Synthetic Chemists: Possible collaboration and authorship.

Easy to make such a site?