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Dark Chemical Matter Library

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ChemDiv’s Dark Chemical Matter Library contains 25,000 compounds.

The Dark Chemical Matter (DCM) Library represents a promising and innovative starting point for drug lead discovery. Dark Chemical Matter consists of small molecules that, despite being exhaustively tested in high throughput screening (HTS) assays, have never demonstrated biological activity (defined as being inactive in over 100 assays). This characteristic makes them particularly intriguing for further investigation, as they occupy unique and largely unexplored areas of chemical space.

Among ChemDiv’s extensive collection of over 1.5 million compounds, more than 25,000 unique molecules have been identified as Dark Chemical Matter, based on criteria established by Novartis and PubChem DCM sets. The DCM Library not only includes molecules with novel chemotypes but also encompasses compounds that occupy chemical spaces adjacent to known clinical and preclinical candidates as well as launched drugs. This proximity suggests that these compounds possess drug-like properties, making them valuable candidates for lead optimization and drug development.

The compounds in the Dark Chemical Matter Library were meticulously collected and curated based on published data, particularly the seminal articles by Wassermann et al. [1.2]. According to Wassermann et al., Dark Chemical Matter is defined as those molecules that showed no biological activity when tested in at least 100 diverse assays. This extensive inactivity profile provides a solid foundation for exploring these compounds in new biological contexts where their potential activities might have been overlooked due to assay limitations or specific biological pathways not previously considered.

Leveraging the DCM Library allows researchers to tap into a reservoir of novel chemical entities with untapped potential. By exploring these dark molecules, scientists can uncover new mechanisms of action, identify novel therapeutic targets, and develop innovative drugs. The unique chemical diversity and inherent drug-like properties of the DCM Library make it an indispensable resource for advancing drug discovery and fostering the development of new therapeutic agents.

1. Wassermann, A., Lounkine, E., Hoepfner, D. et al. Dark chemical matter as a promising starting point for drug lead discovery. Nat Chem Biol. 2015, 11, 958–966.

2. Wassermann AM, Tudor M, Glick M. Deorphanization strategies for dark chemical matter. Drug Discov Today Technol. 2017; 23: 69-74.

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