ChemBeads: chemistry coated in glass
What do tiny glass beads, a powder mixing machine and solid chemicals have in common?
Not much. Until a group of AbbVie chemists had an idea that could shorten the screening time for some compounds from weeks to days.
Long before there is a medicine, there is a compound. Or rather, thousands of compounds that must be tested in order to find the special few that could one day become a medicine. It’s a long and resource-heavy testing process to identify these “lead compounds” that could possibly be converted into a new medicine.
To test these compounds, scientists first have to make them. Unfortunately, finding the conditions necessary to make the desired compounds can often be a bottleneck, in part due to the limited amount of material available and a lack of technologies to screen diverse conditions efficiently and effectively. In other words, it adds a time consuming, resource-heavy step to what is already a painfully slow journey from scientific discovery to potential treatment.