Yet Another Free Chemical Database: Reaction Searching with CMLD-BU

June 18, 2007

As chemical informatics continues its climb out of a decades-long stagnation, the number of free chemical databases continues to grow. But despite all the activity, reaction databases are notably under-represented. For this reason, I was delighted to stumble onto Boston University's Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development Reaction Database (CMLD-BU).

According to their website, CMLD-BU:

...is a new center funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences ( NIGMS ) focused on the discovery of new methodologies to produce novel chemical libraries of unprecedented complexity for biological screening. The goal of the CMLD-BU is to explore and expand the diversity of small-molecule libraries by creating general, useful protocols for stereocontrolled synthesis. ... A major objective of the CMLD-BU is also to provide information and chemistry protocols to the public on parallel and chemical library synthesis. ...

Use this link to begin exploring their service. To date the CMLD-BU has deposited just over 1,600 Substances with PubChem and their site shows 125 reaction protocols.

Although CMLD-BU's user interface could use some tweaking, their content is right on the money: real examples of preparative reactions with links to the primary literature and even spectral data.

Are we at the end of this process or at the beginning? Only time will tell. But the nearly infinite shelflife and ubiquity of chemical information coupled with the inexorable approach of virtually zero-cost computer services leaves only one of those two possibilities worthy of serious consideration.