Molecular Design International, Inc.
improving the world, one molecule at a time


MDI Makes "The List" in The Memphis Business Journal

Emphasis:  Biotechnology, List Makers, A look beyond the numbers,

Memphis Business Journal, July 9-15, 2004, page 21

The Memphis Business Journal interviewed MDI's Dr. William P. Purcell in its coverage of the growing Biotechnology market in Memphis.

What has been your most successful personal or business investment?
Investing in myself and my company; believing in my ideas; and making personal commitments and monetary investments to inventing drugs, which has been my most successful investment.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? 
Predicting the biological activity of a molecule before it was discovered.

How do you enjoy spending time outside of work?
Playing tennis, fishing, hunting and playing with my grandchildren.

What are your business goals for the coming year?
To drive our obesity drug candidate to the clinic.  Before we administer the drug to humans, we will evaluate the drug in an obese baboon model.  If we can get to the clinic in the coming year, the primary goal of MDI will be achieved.

What is the biggest challenge you face in meeting these goals?
Regulatory affairs and the costs of conducting the studies.

August 25, 2003
Experts: World Facing Diabetes Catastrophe
By Emelia Sithole

PARIS (Reuters) - More than 300 million people worldwide are at risk of developing diabetes and the disease's economic impact in some hard-hit countries could be higher than that of the AIDS (news - web sites) pandemic, diabetes experts warned on Monday.

In a report released at the International Diabetes Federation conference in Paris, experts estimate the annual healthcare costs of diabetes worldwide for people aged 20 to 79 are at least $153 billion.
  "In some countries with a higher incidence, diabetes has a higher economic impact than AIDS," Williams Rhys, professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Wales, told a news conference.  According to the Diabetes Atlas report, total direct healthcare spending on the disease worldwide will be between $213 billion and $396 billion by 2025, if predictions are correct that the number of people with diabetes will rise to 333 million by 2025 from 194 million.

Diabetes occurs in two basic forms: type I, which occurs in children and adolescents and accounts for five-10 percent of all diabetes cases, and the more common type II, or adult onset diabetes.  Patients with type I diabetes do not produce enough insulin while those with type II produce insulin but cannot use it effectively. Adult onset diabetes can often be prevented or controlled in its early stages with careful diet and exercise, but patients often need a range of drugs to control it.  Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, disability and death.


More than 75 percent of diabetes cases are expected to be in developing countries by 2025 because of rapid culture and social changes as well as increasing urbanization. This is expected to further burden healthcare systems already stretched by the AIDS pandemic.  "What AIDS was in the last 20 years of the 20th century, diabetes is going to be in the first 20 years of this century," said Paul Zimmet, foundation director of the International Diabetes Institute.  Zimmet and other experts say the diabetes epidemic will be fueled by an estimated 314 million people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or higher than normal blood glucose levels -- a high risk condition for developing type II diabetes.  They also warn that type II diabetes was increasing in children and adolescents in many countries and is linked to rising obesity. They urged food companies -- especially those who make fast foods -- to produce healthier foods and governments to set up national campaigns to combat diabetes.  "We are running out of time," IDF President-elect Pierre Lefebvre warned during a news conference.  "If action is not taken now to stop the rise in diabetes, there is a significant risk that governments and social security (news - web sites) systems may fail to ensure the appropriate care to the millions who will be affected by diabetes in 2025," he said.

April 24, 2003
American Cancer Society Study of Cancer Deaths Shows Obesity Link
Obesity Is Linked to Cancer Deaths , by David Armstrong,  Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2003, Page D3.

"Americans worried about their weight can add this to their list of concerns:  A new study has been found that obesity significantly increases the risk of dying from Cancer.  The study from the American Cancer Society also warns that the more overweight a person is, the greater the risk of dying from cancer.  For the heaviest Americans, the death rate from all cancers was 52% higher for men and 62% higher for women. The study authors estimate 90,000 cancer deaths a year in the country are linked to obesity.  The study, published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, is the most sweeping yet to analyze the link between overweight Americans and cancer.  The data were culled from a mortality study of just over 900,000 Americans who were traced from 1982 through 1998."

The article goes on to describe various types of cancers which seem to be the most  affected by obesity.  "While the dangerous connection between obesity and cardiovascular disease is well-known, there is less awareness of the cancer link even though prior studies have pointed to the relationship.  In a survey conducted last year by the American Cancer Society, only 1% of the people questioned listed obesity as a risk factor for cancer.  The study doesn't answer the question of why there is a link between obesity and death from cancer... so far, investigators have been unable  to pinpoint a biological mechanism clearly linking obesity to most forms of cancer.

Eugenia E. Calle, the lead study author and the director of analytic epidemiology at the cancer society, said the drastic increase in cancer deaths among the overweight population may provide incentive for some patients to control their weight.  But she added the problem of obesity is so ingrained and widespread that there needs to be a societal change in eating habits.  "Every year there is an increase in the prevalence of obesity in this country," she said. "Every year it goes up and we are nowhere near controlling this.  "The article goes on to describe the obesity evaluation process and stated that severely obese persons were most at risk. 

February 27, 2003
MDI Is Featured in The Memphis Business Journal
Molecular Design sets Sights on Making Drugs, and Money
by Scott Shepard, 
Memphis Business Journal,
February 21-27, 2003, Page 3.

The Memphis Business Journal focused on MDI this month in an in-depth article written by veteran reporter, Scott Shepard. 

January 14, 2003
Use of Cosmeceuticals Is on The Rise
The Skinny on Wrinkle Creams , by Robert J. Davis,  Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2003,
Page D4.

"Department stores, drug stores and even doctors are selling a growing array of products, often called 'cosmeceuticals,' that seem to claim they can reverse the aging process."

Mr. Davis goes on to name some of the products currently on the market.  "While none can get rid of deep wrinkles, some products may firm the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.  But you have to know what you're buying and use it carefully.  Wrinkles occur as we age because the body produces less collagen and the skin loses its elasticity.  Smoking and overexposure to the sun can hasten the process.  many products contain alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, which may help boost collagen production.  The problem is that they can increase sensitivity to the sun and the risk of sunburn.  As a result, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that users wear sunscreen and avoid the sun.   To minimize skin irritation, many experts suggest sticking to weaker solutions of AHAs - those with concentrations of 10% or less and a pH of 3.5 or higher - which tend to be less effective.

Another common ingredient, retinol, is a derivative of vitamin A.  It's a weaker version of the active compound in the prescription anti-wrinkle drug Retin-A and Renova, which have been shown to build collagen, get rid of skin blotches, and possibly even prevent skin cancer.  But the effectiveness of over-the-counter retinol is less clear-cut.   Despite the claims of manufacturers, many experts say most retinol products are too weak to do much good.  Some experts are similarly skeptical when it comes to antioxidants like vitamins C and E and coenzyme Q-10.  These compounds are believed to counteract free radicals, which damage cells and cause aging.  But there's no definitive evidence that antioxidants, when applied to the skin, have anti-aging effects.  However, there are some dermatologists who believe, for different reasons, that antioxidants may increase collagen production.  As for other ingredients, there's even less proof that they work.  The cost of cosmeceuticals varies widely - from less than $10 an ounce to more than $100."

Mr. Davis goes on to give consumers advice about choosing a product that is right for them.

January 2, 2003
Obesity Epidemic Growing

Obesity, Diabetes Continue to Increase in U.S., Associated Press,  Wall Street Journal, January 2, Page D4.

"The twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes still are on the rise in the U.S."

More than 44 million U.S. residents were obese and 16.7 million people had diagnosed diabetes during 2001, according to a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The researchers found the U.S.'s obesity rate climbed to 21% during 2001 from 20% the year before, and the rate of diagnosed diabetes rose to 7.9% from 7.3%.  The study appeared in yesterday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
  The study's findings are based on telephone surveys with a nationally representative sample of 195,005 adults.  The study used self-reported data to calculate body-mass index, a height-to-weight ration.  A BMI of 30 or higher was considered obese in the study.  Researchers believe the real  rates are even higher, partly because people tend to underestimate their weight."