Review Paper

Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 33, Issue 7, pp 523-531

First online:

Drug discovery from natural products

  • Vincent P. GulloAffiliated withCetek Corporation Email author 
  • , James McAlpineAffiliated withEcopia Biosciences
  • , Kin S. LamAffiliated withNereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • , Dwight BakerAffiliated withCubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • , Frank PetersenAffiliated withNovartis Institutes for Biomedical Research

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Natural product compounds are the source of numerous therapeutic agents. Recent progress to discover drugs from natural product sources has resulted in compounds that are being developed to treat cancer, resistant bacteria and viruses and immunosuppressive disorders. Many of these compounds were discovered by applying recent advances in understanding the genetics of secondary metabolism in actinomycetes, exploring the marine environment and applying new screening technologies. In many instances, the discovery of a novel natural product serves as a tool to better understand targets and pathways in the disease process. This review describes recent progress in drug discovery from natural sources including several examples of compounds that inhibit novel drug targets.


Drug discovery Natural products Drug targets Screening Secondary metabolism