Volume 87 Issue 25 | pp. 36-39
Issue Date: June 22, 2009

Heavy-Hydrogen Drugs Turn Heads, Again

Firms seek to improve drug candidates by selective deuterium substitution
Department: Science & Technology, Business
Keywords: deuterium, hydrogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Drug discovery, pharmaceuticals

In the drug industry, as in fashion, occasionally what’s old becomes new again: The latest retro rage in the pharmaceutical world is deuterium substitution, a drug-design strategy that has faded in and out of vogue over the years. Now, firms large and small are banking on its potential to improve existing drugs.

The strategy aims to take advantage of the edge deuterium has on hydrogen in terms of atomic mass. Carrying a neutron that hydrogen . . .

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