A Rapid Colorimetric Assay for Drug Discovery

Background The FDA currently requires pharmaceutical firms to create enantiomerically pure substances, or that the enantiomer of the drug be thoroughly studied and found to have no adverse side effects. The synthesis of enantiomerically pure substances requires the use of reagents that give enantiomeric excesses (ee) to the various synthetic steps involved in the synthetic procedure. Currently, the ee of a reaction is typically determined using polarography or chiral HPLC analysis. The ability to screen for enantiomeric excesses or the possibility of quantitative analysis of ee, using a simple colorimetric method would be a significant advance and simplification over current methods.

Invention Description This new technology describes a rapid and inexpensive color assay which uses a colorimetric method to detect the enantiomeric excesses and dramatically reduces the time to screen and purify new drugs. Different colors can be seen by the naked eye when the d or l enantiomers of various functional groups are formed. Furthermore, a mathematical analysis can be applied to the UV/VIS spectra obtained for the mixture of enantiomers to determine both the concentrations of the mixture of d and l, as well as the ee. The method is incredibly simple and could be of general utility for a variety of functional groups.


Reduces screening time of drugs Reduces costs of drug development Expedites steps in FDA approval process Reduces possible human errors in process Does not require experienced technicians


Faster than current methods No HPLC required Simple analysis that can be done by basic lab technicians Speedy color reaction

Market Potential/Applications This technology is applicable to all pharmaceutical companies and research tool providers. The multi-million-dollar market for drug screening technologies is growing at about 10% per year and is open to new techniques that can expedite the discovery process.

IP Status One U.S. patent application filed

UT Researcher Eric V. Anslyn, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin J. Frantz Folmer-Andersen, Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin Lei Zhu, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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