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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Stephen A. Munk, PhD (Ash Stevens Inc.)
Description: This book is a concise introduction to pharmaceutically important classes of compounds. The author briefly describes both mechanism of action and methods of agent preparation. He incorporates many topics relevant to both human health and modern synthetic chemistry.
Purpose: The purpose is to introduce therapeutically important biological targets and then to provide routes to prepare the most important of the compounds.
Audience: The audience is senior students in the areas of organic and medicinal chemistry.
Features: The combination of the two topics represents an important contribution as they are seldom combined within a single volume. With this approach the author provides insight into the life of a practicing medicinal chemist. The He also provides an introduction to a broad range of structures found in therapeutically interesting molecules. Structures discussed include heterocycles, peptidomimetics, and nucleosides. The author typically describes routes and reactions that research chemists use to synthesize the materials as commercial routes are not in the public domain. Many of the reagents discussed are not used commercially today (benzene and chloroform, for example). The schemes are generally well organized and informative. The author provides leading references that will allow a student to elaborate on topics of interest.
Assessment: This is a good introduction to the synthetic chemistry required to fuel the pharmaceutical industry and should encourage students to pursue a career in this exciting field. The book is short by design but the author does omit several important classes of compounds including anticancer agents, hormone regulators including steroids, and a broad discussion of antibiotics. A second edition is merited to incorporate these additional classes and to address typographical errors.