Bioprospecting for Pharmaceuticals: An Overview and Vision for Future Access and Benefit Sharing

  • Danielle Cicka
  • Cassandra QuaveEmail author


The vast therapeutic benefits of plants have been recognized for centuries, yet there is still a large, untapped potential for commercial medicine production. In fact, several of the most important pharmaceuticals have been based on compounds found in natural products. Bioprospecting encompasses this search for the commercial potential of medicinal natural products. The search for these drugs from nature contains unique opportunities and challenges. Within the confines of the US pharmaceutical industry, the process of drug discovery must encompass the well-being of the countries and people from which the botanical information and specimen have been obtained, while conserving plant diversity and maintaining a competitive advantage in the industry. Nature contains incredibly unique chemical compounds of unparalleled diversity, ripe for new classes of therapeutics if care can be taken to ensure the benefit for local communities, the environment, and scientists. Therefore, this chapter describes triumphs and struggles of bioprospecting and framework for the future.


Drug discovery Regulatory environment Intellectual property 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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