08 October 2008

Are Biophysicists dogmatic or agnostic?

Here is a comment from this post:
Ever considered to use enzyme assays as a 1st line assay for fragment screening, then follow up with NMR or X-Ray AND SPR?

Does the job!
This of course is the inherent (and apparent) tension in FBDD. Biophysicists (those rascally folk trained in such things as NMR, X-ray, SPR) want to perform their chosen technique. Medicinal chemists are no different, they want to make molecules. Biologists want to run compounds. Everybody wants to do what they are trained to do: management rewards doing your job. DUH!!! Credit is doled out by the dropper, so there is never enough to go around; we have been trained to grab as much unto ourselves as we can. The tension is not inherent in the science, it's imposed upon us by management [edited out my really nasty comment about managment].
Is it the belief of non-biophysicists that biophysicists don't find value in data generated by other techniques, or don't consider them of sufficient value? I have encountered highly dogmatic biophysicists...as well as highly dogmatic medicinal chemists, biologists, etc. My favorite quote, and absolutely real, "Why would I need fragments, I know how to get molecules into the clinic." Guess how many post-POC compounds that person had to their credit. Three guesses: first two are wrong, and the third should be less than 1.
I think the best FBDD practitioners (and shoot, we need some sort of really cool name for us) or agnostics. High quality data is high quality data, doesn't matter where it comes from. In fact, my answer to the commenter above is "Of course, when resources allow, multiple, orthogonal data is always the answer." FBDD should be method agnostic, something I have always preached. A rising tide raises all boats; credit should go to a team, not individual members. And YES everybody gets a pink unicorn in my world.

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