The acid-base profile of a contemporary set of drugs: implications for drug discovery

David Thomas Manallack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Acid-base ionization constant (pKa) values have considerable influence on the physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties of therapeutic substances. A set of 907 drugs was examined to determine the proportion of drugs that contain an ionizable group and the distribution of their pKa values. Using this contemporary set of compounds it was found that 64 of these compounds contained an ionizable group. Within this group of ionizable compounds, 34 contained a single basic group while only 20 contained a single acidic functional group. The single acid and single base containing substances were investigated further to examine the distributions of their pKa values. These data are discussed and analyzed with a focus on the entire set as well as central nervous system, non-central nervous system and oral drugs. The findings from this research will prompt pharmaceutical companies to assess the constitution of their screening libraries, such that focus is placed on the proportion of ionizable substances, the ratio of acids to bases and the distribution of pKa values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611 - 655
Number of pages45
JournalSAR and QSAR in Environmental Research
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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