Dial-a-Molecule is a 5-year-long British project that promotes research towards generating molecules quickly and efficiently. This collective of 450 researchers and 60 companies has been working and fundraising since 2010 and the project runs until 2015 when they will announce their findings.
“I would consider it entirely feasible to build a synthesis machine which could make any one of a billion defined small molecules on demand,” says Richard Whitby, Dial-a-Molecule founder and chemist at the University of Southampton, UK. “The bigger challenge is that computers have a much harder time figuring out whether that reaction will actually work in a synthesis, particularly if the target has never been made before.”
The team has spent years identifying entries that lack crucial information about reagent compatibility or reaction conditions. Because of this, its recommendations are able to keep efficiency in mind. “In 5 seconds we can screen 2 billion possible synthetic routes,” says Chematica founder Bartosz Grzybowski.
“That’s absolutely the biggest barrier,” says Mat Todd, a chemist at University of Sydney. “In chemistry, we don’t have that culture of sharing, and I think it’s got to change.”
3D-printed molecules wouldn’t just be limited to cheap and affordable prescriptions. You could make any molecule at will and affordably. Imagine having your own organic synthesis device at home to create medicine, food, drinks or even prescription drugs all at your fingertips! We presently have conventional 3D printers available at home that develop solid objects, and molecular compounds will soon be channeled in the same fashion.
Photo Credit: Productos Digitales Móviles