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Ciba Found Symp. 1994;185:197-206; discussion 206-13.

From shaman to human clinical trials: the role of industry in ethnobotany, conservation and community reciprocity.

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Ethnobotany and Conservation, Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080-4812.


Shaman Pharmaceuticals is a development-stage company engaged in developing traditional pharmaceuticals identified through a discovery process focused on isolating active compounds from tropical plants with a history of medicinal use. This process has resulted in two products in clinical trials: Provir, an oral product for the treatment of respiratory viral infections, and Virend, a topical antiviral product for the treatment of herpes. Shaman's drug-discovery process targets specific plants that have been used for medicinal purposes by native peoples. By integrating the sciences of ethnobotany, medicine and plant natural product chemistry, Shaman has been able to achieve time and cost savings for the identification of active compounds and preclinical development of its initial products. Numerous drugs have entered the international pharmacopoeia via the study of ethnobotany and traditional medicine. Two important elements of this approach to drug discovery are the percentage of plants that show activity against specific viral pathogens and the correlation between the folk therapeutic classification of plants used and the percentage of those plants that have shown activity in our antiviral screens. Conservation and direct reciprocity to indigenous communities are important features of Shaman Pharmaceuticals' drug-discovery process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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