Beyond Pharmaceuticals: Business And Academic Leaders Forecast The Future Of "Combinatorial Chemistry"

NEWARK, DEL. -- Over the past decade, combinatorial chemistry--a technique for rapidly creating and testing vast `libraries' of chemical compounds--has emerged as a key strategy for drug discovery. Leaders in the combinatorial field, however, recognize that its potential applications extend far beyond pharmaceuticals.

At a University of Delaware conference, 15 industry and academic experts Oct. 22-23 will describe how combinatorial chemistry also is speeding the search for novel catalysts, specialty chemicals and a wide range of new materials.

Someday, combinatorial processes may even help scientists grapple with such complex problems as speech recognition, says honorary conference chairperson H. Mario Geysen, a Distinguished Research Scientist with Glaxo Wellcome Inc. and the inventor of combinatorial chemistry. The field might support investigations of, say, room-temperature superconductors, or the likelihood that life exists elsewhere in the universe, Geysen says.

Along with Geysen, top scientists from Symyx Technologies, ArQule, DuPont and other industry leaders will present their views of this swiftly developing field to over 200 attendees at UD's Newark, Del., campus.

"After only 10 years, combinatorial chemistry is completely accepted and fully integrated into pharmaceutical companies," says W. Henry Weinberg, chief technical officer at Symyx Technologies of Santa Clara, Calif., a company that develops and applies combinatorial methods for the chemical and electronics industries. Within the next three years, Weinberg continues, it appears that combinatorial methods will yield even more important, far-reaching results when applied to discovering and improving non-drug materials such as polymers and catalysts. "This is the first conference devoted entirely to this emerging technology," he adds.

Weinberg--who also is a professor of chemistry, chemical and materials engineering at the University of California in Santa Barbara--will provide an o

Contact: Ginger Pinholster
University of Delaware

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