After the Fall

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Science  23 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5512, pp. 2340-2341
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5512.2340b

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In the early 1990s, two start-ups pushed new sugar-based drugs into late-stage clinical trials that promised to usher in a new era of compounds targeting sugars and sugar-binding proteins, which together play key roles in infections, cancer metastasis, and immune system diseases. But both drugs faltered, souring many investors and major pharmaceutical companies on the idea that sugars would make good drugs. Now carbohydrate specialists say biotech companies and a few venturesome pharmaceutical giants are regaining a bit of a sweet tooth.