Navigating chemical space for biology and medicine

Nature. 2004 Dec 16;432(7019):855-61. doi: 10.1038/nature03193.


Despite over a century of applying organic synthesis to the search for drugs, we are still far from even a cursory examination of the vast number of possible small molecules that could be created. Indeed, a thorough examination of all 'chemical space' is practically impossible. Given this, what are the best strategies for identifying small molecules that modulate biological targets? And how might such strategies differ, depending on whether the primary goal is to understand biological systems or to develop potential drugs?

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biology / methods*
  • Chemistry / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / trends
  • Humans
  • Medicine / methods*
  • Medicine / trends
  • Pharmacology / methods
  • Pharmacology / trends
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteins