Aiming the Shotgun

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Science  31 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5266, pp. 1267
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5266.1267


Combinatorial chemistry is a shotgun approach. With it, chemists can rapidly turn out thousands or even millions of different compounds in their search for an active drug or a probe molecule for research or diagnosis. But most of those compounds don't come close to binding to a target. So many researchers in business and academic research are mixing the power of combinatorial chemistry with the finesse of targeted, or rational, drug design to come up with focused libraries of compounds more likely to hit their targets. “It's clearly how the cleverer compounds are being made,” says one researcher.