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For a few hours on Wednesday, the most exciting thing in drug development wasn’t the patients or potential payoffs. Instead, it was all about the chemists.

Scientists from Merck, Eli Lilly, Amgen, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline were providing a detailed look at their preclinical development programs at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Boston, disclosing information about what their drug candidates look like and how the structures are built, chemically speaking.

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