There are some perqs to being a consultant. I go to work most days in my jammies, I can work from anywhere with WiFi, and get to work with great people. I also have a lot of freedom with what I can say/do/write. Back in April at the CHI Drug Discovery Chemistry meeting, I ran into an editor from an ACS publication. Now, if you have ever been at a conference with me you know I am a social butterfly. New face, let's chit chat. This editor was very nice and after some social niceties, I asked who is refereeing your journal? This was a general query having to do with some poor quality fragment papers recently, and before I even saw this! She was polite and asked what do you mean? I said, well I blog on fragments and we come across crap in JMedChem and the like all the time. Like this. I think at this point she obviously was thinking of me like this . Then I mentioned that the blog was Practical Fragments and her attitude changed. So, this blog has "street cred"!! She then asked me if I would write a Viewpoint on the future of FBDD. Sure, I said. This could be fun.
At the same time, I was preparing a talk for the Zing FBDD conference. So, I decided to make that talk (that's a link to SlideShare, I hope it works) a demo for the Viewpoint. Give it a read, its short and sweet (at least I think).
For those of you without 10 minutes to spare, here are the take home points from the Viewpoint:
- Fragonomics is a key component of most (all?) hit generation processes
- It is a fully mature field. The current debates amount to quibbling about details.
- It has no future as a stand-alone field. But there are still challenges for it to tackle.
- Medchemists no longer rule the field.
"The age of the medchemist is over; now is the time of the biophysicist."
This got some serious push back at the conference, and I expect (hope?) it will here too. Of course, I am paraphrasing this. I am not suggesting that medchemists make like the Elves and sail off to Valinor. They are still incredibly important and can still play a role in early hit generation. However, the focus, thanks to Fragonomics, is vastly different. A chemically trained biophysicist can run a fragment-based hit generation project and you don't have to have engage the most precious resource (medchem) until well into the process. This is a good thing.
Well, I have planted my flag. Now its time for you all to weigh in.