Medicinal chemistry or pharmaceutical chemistry is a discipline at the intersection of chemistry, pharmacology, and biology involved with designing, synthesizing and developing pharmaceutical drugs. Medicinal chemistry involves the identification, synthesis and development of new chemical entities suitable for therapeutic use. It also includes the study of existing drugs, their biological properties, and their quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR). Pharmaceutical chemistry is focused on quality aspects of medicines and aims to assure fitness for the purpose of medicinal products.
Compounds used as medicines are overwhelmingly organic compounds including small organic molecules and biopolymers. However, inorganic compounds and metal-containing compounds have been found to be useful as drugs. For example, the cis-platin series of platinum-containing complexes have found use as anti-cancer agents and Lithium-based medicines have long been useful in treating a wide range of mental illnesses.
Medicinal chemistry is a highly interdisciplinary science combining organic chemistry with biochemistry, computational chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacognosy, molecular biology, statistics, and physical chemistry.