Brown Bag Lecture: Rationalizing Drug Discovery? The Early History of Antimetabolites (1940–1960)

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Date: October 29, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

A talk by Thibaut Serviant-Fine

In this talk Thibaut will start by presenting the origins of the theory of antimetabolites that appeared in 1940 with the work of the British biochemists Donald D. Woods and Paul Fildes as part of their investigation into the mode of action of the sulfa drugs. Then he will discuss how the theory was conceived and used in the following years as a principle for rational drug discovery that could ideally allow researchers to go beyond the random screening of chemicals or natural products. Finally, highlighting the immediate successes and failures of this new kind of principle, he intends to show how the early history of antimetabolites can help us understand the discourse of rationality in pharmaceutical research and how this discourse supported the idea of an application of fundamental research in drug discovery.

About Brown Bag Lectures

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of CHF staff and fellows and interested members of the public.

For more information, please call 215.873.8289 or e-mail

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