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Phytochemistry. 2007 Jul;68(14):2015-22. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Plant natural products: back to the future or into extinction?

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Tapestry Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 4840 Pearl East Cir. #300W, Boulder, CO 80301, United States.


Natural product substances have historically served as the most significant source of new leads for pharmaceutical development. However, with the advent of robotics, bioinformatics, high throughput screening (HTS), molecular biology-biotechnology, combinatorial chemistry, in silico (molecular modeling) and other methodologies, the pharmaceutical industry has largely moved away from plant derived natural products as a source for leads and prospective drug candidates. Can, or will, natural products ever recapture the preeminent position they once held as a foundation for drug discovery and development? The challenges associated with development of natural products as pharmaceuticals are illustrated by the Taxol story. Several misconceptions, which constrain utilization of plant natural products, for discovery and development of pharmaceuticals, are addressed to return natural products to the forefront.

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