The use of natural products for drug discovery is on the rise, thanks to a new wave of technological inputs that promise to bring better returns on investment. Here are some advantages of natural products in drug discovery. Let’s explore each one in turn. These products have multiple medicinal properties and are often available for free. Moreover, many natural products have socio-economic benefits. For example, they can be a good source of bioactive molecules.
Natural products can serve as good lead compounds for drug development because they have a vast chemical and structural diversity. In fact, up to 40% of the chemical scaffolds found in natural products are not present in today’s medicinal chemistry. Natural products have historically contributed to the success of drug discovery, and over 45% of the bestselling drugs of today are derived from natural products. Natural products also have several advantages over synthetic molecules, which are not widely available in the market.
A large number of natural products are complex and difficult to synthesize on an industrial scale. These include penicillin, morphine, paclitaxel, and narcotics. Therefore, it is important to gather samples from nature and then analyze them for drug discovery and bioassays. This process is known as bioprospecting. Natural products can also serve as leads for total synthetic compounds. In addition, these compounds may combine multiple antimicrobial compounds.