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Current strategies for drug discovery through natural products

Harvey, Alan and Clark, Rachel and Mackay, Simon and Johnston, Blair (2010) Current strategies for drug discovery through natural products. Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery, 5 (6). pp. 559-568.

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Importance to the field: Natural products are the most consistently successful source of drug leads, both historically and currently. Despite this, the use of natural products in industrial drug discovery has fallen out of favour. Natural products are likely to continue to be sources of new commercially viable drug leads because the chemical novelty associated with natural products is higher than that of any other source: this is particularly important when searching for lead molecules against newly discovered targets for which there are no known small molecule leads. Areas to be covered: Current drug discovery strategies involving natural products are described in three sections: developments from traditionally used medicines, random testing of natural compounds on biological assays and use of virtual screening techniques with structures of natural products. What the reader will gain: The reader will gain an insight into the potential for natural products in current drug discovery paradigms, particularly in the value of using natural products in virtual screening approaches. Take home message: Drug discovery would be enriched if fuller use was made of the chemistry of natural products.