Natural products in drug discovery

Alan L Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

1496 Citations (Scopus)


Natural products have been the single most productive source of leads for the development of drugs. Over a 100 new products are in clinical development, particularly as anti-cancer agents and anti-infectives. Application of molecular biological techniques is increasing the availability of novel compounds that can be conveniently produced in bacteria or yeasts, and combinatorial chemistry approaches are being based on natural product scaffolds to create screening libraries that closely resemble drug-like compounds. Various screening approaches are being developed to improve the ease with which natural products can be used in drug discovery campaigns, and data mining and virtual screening techniques are also being applied to databases of natural products. It is hoped that the more efficient and effective application of natural products will improve the drug discovery process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-901
Number of pages8
JournalDrug Discovery Today
Issue number19-20
Early online date22 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • animal compounds
  • biological products
  • computer simulation
  • drug design
  • drug evaluation, preclinical
  • humans
  • pharmacology
  • plant compounds


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