Compound management

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Drug discovery depends on methods by which many different chemicals are assayed for their activity. These chemicals are stored as physical quantities in a chemical library or libraries which are often assembled from both outside vendors and internal chemical synthesis efforts. These chemical libraries are used in high-throughput screening in the drug discovery hit to lead process.

The chemical libraries in larger pharmaceutical companies are a critical part of the discovery process. These chemicals are stored in environmentally controlled conditions in small or large containers, often labeled with codes that pass back into a database. Each chemical in the storage bank must be monitored for shelf life, quantity, purity and other parameters, and its banked location. In some companies, the compounds can also include biological compounds, such as purified proteins or nucleic acids. The management of these chemical libraries, including renewal of outdated chemicals, databases containing the information, robotics often involved in fetching chemicals, and quality control of the storage environment is called Compound Management or Compound Control. Compound Management is often a career for one or more individuals who manage a chemical library at a research site.

In short, Compound Management requires inventory control of small molecules and biologics needed for assays and experiments, especially in high-throughput screening. It utilizes knowledge of chemistry, robotics, biology, and database management. The manager must also be acutely aware of safety standards in the handling and storing of radioactive, volatile, flammable and unstable compounds. Often, in large pharmaceutical companies, the number of chemical and biological compounds contained in compound libraries can number in the millions, making compound management and compound control important contributors to drug discovery.