About Us

Who we are

The Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD) is a collaborative laboratory, connecting chemists who make molecules with biologists who wish to test them for activity against a range of diseases.

What we do

The BU-CMD is an open-access compound and medicinal chemistry resource for biological discovery. We maintain a collection of small, drug-like molecules curated and distributed to researchers free-of-charge. Unique in our approach, we foster and seed new, collaborative research projects in the biomedical sciences with the hope of advancing curative research for challenging biological disease areas.

How we help chemists

In academia, molecules are often synthesized for a single, targeted purpose and then stored away in freezers, often never to be used again. Our repository is a one-of-a-kind mechanism to get compounds off the shelves into the assays of a broad and ever-growing network of biomedical researchers. With the BU-CMD as a resource, a biologist can access unique molecules that are not otherwise available and a chemist can access dozens of ongoing and future screens for new biological activities related to human health.

How we help biologists

The crafted molecules produced by the BU-CMD are different from those found in mass-produced commercial and industrial collections, the latter generally containing flat structures. The contributing chemists are leading innovators in the art of organic synthesis and build molecules with significant complexity and three-dimensional shape. These molecules often resemble those made by nature and have demonstrated potential as therapeutic leads when other screening collections have not been successful. Moreover, when a bioactive compound is identified, the BU-CMD is able to instantly connect the biomedical researcher with the chemist who created it. The contributing chemist is uniquely equipped with the skill and expertise to collaboratively support new research.

Why is this important?

The steady decline in novel small molecule drug approvals over the past decade underscores the need for new approaches and chemical matter in drug discovery. The BU-CMD’s unique approach couples a rich variety of molecules with the new and innovative approaches to combatting disease that are currently being pursued in universities, hospitals, and screening centers across the globe. To our knowledge, no other academic center seeds new research and direct, collaborative connections in this manner. The end result are small molecules derived from collaborative and multidisciplinary research that can specifically target human diseases such as cancer, CNS disorders, and neglected tropical diseases.


BU-CMD Brochure