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Drug Design: Do Not Forget the Supramolecular Factor.

Biochemistry 2024 April 17
A major challenge currently facing medicinal chemists is designing agents that can selectively destroy drug resistant fungi and bacteria that have begun to emerge. One factor that has been overlooked by virtually all drug discovery/development approaches is the supramolecular factor, in which aggregated forms of a drug candidate exhibit low selectivity in destroying targeted cells while the corresponding monomers exhibit high selectivity. This Perspective discusses how we were led to the supramolecular factor through fundamental studies with simple model systems, how we reasoned that the selectivity of monomers of the antifungal agent amphotericin B should be much greater than the selectivity of the corresponding aggregates, and how we confirmed this hypothesis using derivatives of amphotericin B. In a broader context, these findings provide a strong rationale for considering the supramolecular factor in the design of new drug candidates and the testing of virtually all of them.

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