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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Why Antidiabetic Vanadium Complexes are Not in the Pipeline of “Big Pharma” Drug Research? A Critical Review

Author(s): Thomas Scior, Jose Antonio Guevara-Garcia, Quoc-Tuan Do, Philippe Bernard and Stefan Laufer

Volume 23, Issue 25, 2016

Page: [2874 - 2891] Pages: 18

DOI: 10.2174/0929867323666160321121138

open access plus


Public academic research sites, private institutions as well as small companies have made substantial contributions to the ongoing development of antidiabetic vanadium compounds. But why is this endeavor not echoed by the globally operating pharmaceutical companies, also known as “Big Pharma”? Intriguingly, today’s clinical practice is in great need to improve or replace insulin treatment against Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Insulin is the mainstay therapeutically and economically. So, why do those companies develop potential antidiabetic drug candidates without vanadium (vanadium- free)? We gathered information about physicochemical and pharmacological properties of known vanadium-containing antidiabetic compounds from the specialized literature, and converted the data into explanations (arguments, the “pros and cons”) about the underpinnings of antidiabetic vanadium. Some discoveries were embedded in chronological order while seminal reviews of the last decade about the Medicinal chemistry of vanadium and its history were also listed for further understanding. In particular, the concepts of so-called “noncomplexed or free” vanadium species (i.e. inorganic oxido-coordinated species) and “biogenic speciation” of antidiabetic vanadium complexes were found critical and subsequently documented in more details to answer the question.

Keywords: Antidiabetics, insulinomimetics, PTP1B, vanadium complexes, speciation, drug design, molecular modeling.

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