Project Details Medicinal Chemistry India 2013 - A pilot Study

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 November 2012
End Date:
01 June 2014
Division Name:
Chemistry and Human Health Division
Division No.:


The objective of the Medicinal Chemistry India (MCI) project is to create and optimize a basic medicinal chemistry course for industrial and academic scientists in India and South East Asian countries.

Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India ( has generously agreed to host this event and will provide the access to their facility for the period.


The increase in medicinal chemistry employment in Asian pharmaceutical companies and Contract Research Organizations collaborating with US and European companies has created a need for chemists to acquire state of the art knowledge of medicinal chemistry.

This course will emphasize the design strategy that takes into account optimization of physio-chemical properties and elimination of potential toxicophores in analogs syntheses during the lead optimization phase.

The MCI course will be based on the successful Drew University Residential School on Medicinal Chemistry, taught annually since 1986 on the Drew University campus in Madison, New Jersey (

MCI 2013 will comprise 3.5 days of content, including 16 1-hour lectures on topics related to medicinal chemistry, and 4 case history presentations of drug discovery programs. In the first year, the course will be taught mainly by faculty from the US, with the goal of recruiting an increasing number of Indian and other Asian countries faculty members in subsequent years.

The performance and value of the MCI course will be assessed after 3 years, and a decision whether to continue in the same format made at that time. The desired outcome will be to enroll 60-100 attendees each year, and provide them with a strong introduction to the practice of medicinal chemistry in drug discovery.


Nov 2013 update: The first MCI Course took place on 11-15 February 2013 at Sri Ramachandran University in Chennai, India. The course was a resounding success: a total of 112 students from industry and academia attended this short course. Industry and academic experts from US participated in the interactive teaching sessions and discussions. The key organizing and supporting teams include Dr. Balu N. Balasubramanian (previously at Bristol-Myers Squibb, now at Pharma Innovation Sourcing Center, LLC), Dr. William Greenlee (previously at Merck, now at Medchem Discovery LLC) and Dr. Tom Perun from IUPAC Division of Chemistry and Human Health. The ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry was officially represented by Dr. Joel Barrish (2013 MEDI Chair), Professor Craig Lindsley (MEDI Long-Range Planning Committee, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Chemical Neuroscience), Dr. Nick Meanwell (MEDI Long-Range Planning Committee) and Dr. William Greenlee (MEDI Councilor), all of whom made presentations for the Course. The faculty also included Professor Phil Bowen (Mercer University), who currently teaches an ACS Short Course on medicinal chemistry, and several other members of the MEDI Division.

A range of topics from fundamentals of medicinal chemistry, to understanding the importance of chemical structure modifications as applied to a) interactions with biological targets, including receptors and enzymes, to elicit desired pharmacological response; b) improve the drugability characteristics such as minimizing any associated toxicology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic profile, as well as solubility and stability requirements, were covered. Industry experts also presented case histories of projects to illustrate the nuances involved in the discovery and fine tuning of lead optimization process towards successful clinical and commercial medicines. The four-day course also offered ample opportunities for the participants, from diverse research and academic institutions, to interact in a very productive manner. Each attendee received a certificate of completion signed by representatives of the organizing team, the University and the ACS MEDI Division and IUPAC Division.

In addition, a set of local experts from industry and academia were also present at select sessions with the aim to becoming future lecturers at these sessions. The program was sponsored by grants from IUPAC, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Division, ACS Innovative Grants, Department Science and Technology, India as well as Indian pharmaceutical companies and Contract Research Organizations. Positive feedback from the attendees and their organizations not only warrants the continuation of this program but also highlights the importance of expansion of this program to other Asian and African countries.

A Subsequent Course is planned for February 2015. Project complete – see continuation as project 2014-011-2-700.

See report in Chem. Int. Mar-Apr 2014, p. 20

Last update 4 June 2014