Project Details Update of glossary of terms used in medicinal chemistry

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 June 2008
End Date:
01 August 2013


It is 10 years since the publication of Glossary of Terms Used in Medicinal Chemistry*. In this period the subject has undergone considerable change particularly through the use of laboratory robotics and miniaturization. It is necessary to bring the Glossary up to date to reflect these changes.

* see Pure and Applied Chemistry 70(5), 1129-1143 (1998); DOI:


The World Wide Web version of the glossary has clearly demonstrated that there is a considerable interest in such a glossary. Thus, in the period of 1999-2007 the total usage, based on the log of IP addresses used each day, is over 200,000. Interestingly, the total usage has increased each year form 2912 in 1998 to 39,000 in 2006. The country usage is impressive, ranging from 1 in Gibraltar to 73,700 in the USA. There are 25 countries showing a usage >500, including Australia (3275), Brazil (1367), Canada (3626), France (1809), Germany (3583), Italy (2571), India (1462), Japan (2641), Russia (1295), and the UK (8769).

With such interest, it is clearly vital that IUPAC should appear to be up to date and not lagging behind in the subject matter. This is particularly important since there has been considerable change in the practice of medicinal chemistry during the past decade. The introduction of laboratory robotics giving rise to high throughput screening, the use of combinatorial chemistry and parallel synthesis, and the considerable development in the discovery of new biological processes have all led to a new vocabulary.


> March 2009project announcement published in Chem. Int. Mar-Apr 2009

> Jan 2012 – the project is nearing its final stages: all comments from the task group and the Division subcommittee are being considered. A draft of the provisional recommendations shall be available within the first quarter of this year.

> Dec 2012 – the provisional recommendations titled “Glossary of Terms Used in Medicinal Chemistry Part II” was made available for public review until 30 April 2013.

> Aug 2013 – Project complete – Glossary of terms used in medicinal chemistry. Part II (IUPAC Recommendations 2013) has been published in
Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, Vol. 85, No. 8, pp. 1725-1758;


The IUPAC recommendations are also available as Chapter 24 of the Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry Volume 48, pp 387-418, 2013.


last updated 3 Oct 2013