Pharma: When Your Chemical Guy Gets Bombed

Pharma: When Your Chemical Guy Gets Bombed

One of the consequences of the war in Ukraine is the disruption of Enamine Labs. Enamine Labs is located in a former Soviet chemical plant in Kiyv. It is a major provider of chemicals to pharmaceutical companies from Boston to Tokyo. While the average person may not notice supply issues immediately, this will have a serious effect on pharma production and innovation. This lab was crucial to the development of the Covid pill development. According to Bloomberg, "the Ukrainian team not only synthesized the compounds in their Kyiv lab, they also took charge of logistics, shipping molecules weekly for testing in the U.K. and Israel for nearly two years, as well as sending batches to other labs in London, Chicago, and New York." Below is Tetiana Matviyuk, principal scientist in medicinal chemistry and computer-aided drug design at Enamine Ltd. in Kyiv.Source: Tetiana Matviyuk





According to Stat News who is covering the story: "The Ukrainian chemical world grew out of the fall of the USSR by capitalizing on a reserve of “weird” compounds that hadn’t been explored in countries such as the U.S. because of the divide between Soviet chemistry research and the Western world. Enamine, as well as two other Ukrainian companies, Otava Chemicals and Life Chemicals, filled a gap in the market, offering “interesting,” ready-to-use building blocks that drug developers could easily patch into their work, and creating custom libraries of these chemical tidbits for companies. “It’s really changed the way medicinal chemists work,” said Lowe, who works at Novartis (but was not speaking on behalf of the company)." Further, Enamine holds a catalog of 20-22 billion synthetic compounds that companies can order "a la carte". The company plans to relocate about 700 chemists to Latvia. On February 25th, Veronika Shoba, a Ukrainian chemist who is working at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, received a package from Enamine. It was a 500-milligram shipment of N-benzyl-N-methylaminosulfonamide, a chemical building block Shoba’s lab is using to make a novel potential anti-cancer therapy. The shipment was part of an attempt to clear out as many explosive chemicals as possible in the event of the main Enamine campus being bombed. Unrelated, The Economist reports on a study that was recently published that demonstrates it's unsettlingly easy to manipulate software meant to design medicinal chemicals into software that designs chemical weapons. Just ask to increase toxicity instead of reduce toxicity....