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Review Article

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

[ Vol. 23 , Issue. 25 ]


Thomas Scior, Jose Antonio Guevara-Garcia, Quoc-Tuan Do, Philippe Bernard and Stefan Laufer   Pages 2874 - 2891 ( 18 )


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.


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


Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Chemical Sciences, University Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, P.O. Box: 72570, City of Puebla, Country Mexico.

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