Project on classification of research chemicals undertaken by EuroChemicals

Background

The Josiah Macy foundation built its longstanding reputation by making smart decisions about the projects it funds and it spares no effort to identify the most groundbreaking candidates every year. In addition to sending an original and relevant project proposal, all of our collaborators must demonstrate enviable level of skill and organizational capacity to deliver the results. We want nothing but the most trustworthy and most innovative organizations under our auspices, so each accepted partner should be prepared for meticulous evaluation that is a part of the standard follow-up procedure for all projects funded by The Josiah Macy foundation.

Project overview

The project aimed to determine the scope and depth of current knowledge about so called research chemicals and their physical and biochemical properties. This field of study encompasses many innovative compounds, with new subjects appearing nearly every week. The level of global interest for this topic is growing fast, while standard textbooks contain little to no information about many chemicals that could have serious pharmacological or scientific value. This is why Josiah Macy foundation decided to recruit help from EuroChemicals an experienced organization directly involved in research chemicals testing and distribution, to provide accurate information from the field. The project lasted for 6 months and involved scientists from 110 countries all around the world.

Basic findings

After testing more than 300 compounds of very diverse nature, researchers in charge of the project returned a large cache of raw data that is mostly unprecedented in academic practice. This is especially impressive considering the fact that nearly 35% of the involved compounds were synthesized within the last five-year window. Of course, data has been systematized only at a very basic level so far, but there is no doubt that input collected by EuroChemicals will represent a great source to which independent researchers will be able to compare their findings with. The data includes descriptions of basic molecular structure and physical properties such as molecular weight or density. Pharmacological profiling was conducted on ad-hoc basis and should be taken with some reservations, due to limitations imposed on in vivo research with the innovative drugs and scarcity of reliable reports about impact of researched compounds upon the central nervous system. Average purity was also reported wherever available, although such parameters and bound to fluctuate depending on the source of research materials.

Classification of chemicals

There is a wide variety of chemical compounds within the category of “research chemicals”, as numerous families are included with one or more representatives. Since most of the drugs were created by substitution of one part of the molecule with a different group of atoms, there is a tendency towards increasing level of complexity for derived compounds in comparison with parent formulas, with unknown impact on the synaptic level. However, it is typical for newly designed drugs to resemble the biochemical imprint of their precursor to a significant degree, although nearly always with an unexpected twist. That’s why exact classification of new chemicals will take time to do properly, due to excessive number of criteria that could be used for this purpose. In practice, the compounds are usually grouped together by their perceived type of interaction with the nervous system, even if clustered chemicals have little in common in terms of molecular structure. Great example are synthetic cannabinoids, a wildly diverse union of innovative chemicals connected merely by the fact they all interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors on the neurons, thus exhibiting potential for similar effects to those of natural marijuana. Other groups such as stimulants or hypnotics are equally multifaceted, prompting the need to devise a more comprehensive classification method.

Conclusions

We are proud to say that EuroChemicals was able to meet high methodological standards set by the Josiah Macy foundation and successfully complete all activities listed in the original proposal that received funding. Of course, the subject of study is vast and six month period is far from enough to produce a full overview of this ever-expanding scene, but our partner used its network of contacts in astonishing way to obtain information on rare or newly synthesized chemicals. There is a lot of potential for continuation of efforts in this direction with support of the foundation, although any follow up activities would have to be approved under the regular funding procedure.



“The Foundation is to devote its interests to the fundamental aspects of health, of sickness, and of the methods for the relief of suffering” and that the Foundation would “take more interest in the architecture of ideas than in the architecture of buildings and laboratories.”

Kate Macy Ladd