Figure 1. Automated SAR studies. Desai et al. at Cyclofluidic Ltd. have demonstrated the automated optimization of kinase inhibitors in an integrated synthetic and analytic chemistry platform.

In this scheme, derivatives of a parent compound are synthesized en masse on a microfluidic matrix [a], purified by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry [b] and then assayed in vitro for inhibitory activity against the desired target [c]. A computer program [d] interprets the assay results and suggests further derivatives expected to improve the activity of the best hits, which serve as starting points for the next round of synthesis and screening. The cycle repeats until the operator has obtained SAR-optimized lead compounds with in vitro pharmacokinetics superior to those of the parent compound.