Combinatorial Chemistry An emerging chemical discovery method is proving to be a fruitful source of research and job opportunities. The technique-called combinatorial chemistry-has spawned a wave of in-house pharmaceutical research and new collaboration between drug firms and biotech companies. Similar programs may also be on the horizon for agrochemical and materials science researchers.

EUREKA: Ronald Zuckerman recalls Chiron's success
Combinatorial chemistry shifts compound design from a one-molecule-at-a-time approach to automated parallel synthesis. Starting with a useful compound or molecule, chemists can use robotics to spin that "lead" into thousands-or hundreds of thousands-of chemical variations. The resulting chemical diversity boosts the chance that a new compound will usefully react with a molecular target-say, a disease-causing molecule.

Drug and agrochemical industry leaders predict combinatorial chemistry will speed product discovery and open new doors for chemists. Pharmaceutical companies already are retraining and hiring chemists who can understand parallel processing, perform solid-state drug synthesis,...

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