An Introduction to Key Concepts in Medicinal Chemistry

| September 25, 2015

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For ages, humans have been using medicinal substances without tools like DNA microarrays to identify them. Instead, they were guided by theories like the concept of the four senses of humor in Greco-Roman medicine or by spiritual systems like animism. The chances are high that modern medicinal chemists would fully reject these rationales. Today we believe that the essential first step in the discovery of a new cure for a disease is the identification of the protein that is at the basis of that disease. The chances are high that medicinal chemists would fully agree with this rationale, but maybe they shouldn’t. In this chapter, we will see why.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Global polyethylene demand boom likely, increasing the sustainability challenge

Article | June 15, 2021

IT FEELS LIKE several lifetimes ago. If you recall, way back in November-December 2019 Asian variable cost integrated naphtha-based polyethylene (PE) margins turned negative because of the increase in US capacity. Then in January the following year, deep Asian and Middle East operating rate cuts returned some order to the market. Then, bang, as we all know, the pandemic arrived and turned everything on its head. The pandemic has, in my view, accentuated trends that were already well underway. I believe this means that the supply-driven downturn that started in late 2019 will not return.Long before coronavirus upended everyone’s lives, PE demand was becoming increasingly divorced from GDP growth because of the shifting nature of end-use demand. Booming internet sales was, I believe, a major factor behind the split between the growth of the overall economies in the developed world plus China and PE demand.The average product bought online is dropped 17 times because of the large number of people involved in the logistics chain, according to Forbes. This had led to a surge in demand for protective packaging made not from PE and other polymers such as polypropylene, expandable polystyrene and PET films (I will look at their demand growth prospects in later posts).Despite sustainability pressures, the scale of demand for stuff bought online translated to a lot more consumption of virgin polymers.

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Ensuring a Winning Strategy for Value Chain Optimization of the Refining and Petrochemical Industries

Article | June 15, 2021

The Refining and petrochemical industries have a projection to keep growing in the next two decades and companies that are investing in new technology today will be ahead of your competition in about 2 years. The digitalization of the value chain, also known as value chain optimization, is a complex task. Part of this complexity comes from the diversity of challenges that occurs in different areas of the value chain within each operation, as we addressed in the article Understanding the Refining and Petrochemical Value Chains to Drive Optimization. Many companies still fail to obtain economic return from their investment in digitalization and we presented the most common challenges in the article Challenges of Achieving Value Chain Optimization in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries. With so many challenges, how can businesses ensure they have a strategic digital transformation program that will successfully result in the optimization of your value chain?

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What's the Most Toxic Chemical?

Article | June 15, 2021

People say America doesn’t make things anymore. But what about toxic chemicals? We make so many of those, we throw half of them in rivers, for free. The problem is, it can be hard to get a handle on which of those chemicals are extremely toxic and which of them are merely somewhat toxic. If one or another shows up in a scan of your stomach, should you freak out or just be grateful it wasn’t something worse? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of experts to find out what the most toxic chemical is.

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Petrochemicals markets complexity is only going to grow and grow

Article | June 15, 2021

NICE WORK, if you get can get it. A trucking company in Fort Worth, Texas, is offering to pay experienced drivers $14,000 a week – $728,000 a year – as the US struggles with a nationwide shortage of truckers or lorry drivers. This reminds me of perhaps an apocryphal tale, from the height of the last Australian mining boom. Before iron ore prices collapsed in late 2014, there was a story about workers at mining site road junctions who operated manual “Stop and Go” signs. They were said to be earning more than Australian dollar (A$) 200,000 a year. Before you pack in your job as, say, a petrochemicals sales manager and head to Texas or mine sites in Western Australia, there is the risk that when you arrive at the door of your new prospective employer, the bubble might have already burst. This is assuming we are in bubble conditions.The pressure is clearly building in petrochemicals and other commodity markets as prices in some regions remain at record highs or continue to rise. Today’s prices are the results of shortages of commodities supply (for example in petrochemicals, an outcome of the US winter storms), very strong demand and supply chain disruptions.I am beginning to believe that the latter is the biggest reason for commodity price inflation which is feeding through into sharp rises in the cost of finished goods – and a lack of goods availability. It is delivering and manufacturing enough stuff that seems to be at the heart of today’s problems due to shortages of everything from container freight space and semiconductors to wooden pallets, tin cans, metal drums, cardboard – and US truck drivers.

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