Natural Product Hybrids as New Leads for Drug Discovery


  • A list of abbreviations can be found at the end of this article. The frontispiece shows Ganesha, the Indian god of wisdom and prosperity, in the center of a triangle of the natural products estrone and talaromycin B as well as a synthetic hybrid of both. According to legend, Shiva tore off the head of his son in a jealous rage and in remorse gave him the head of the first creature to pass by, an elephant.


Natural products play an important role in the development of drugs, especially for the treatment of infections and cancer, as well as immunosuppressive compounds. However, the number of natural products is limited, whereas millions of hybrids as combinations of parts of different natural products can be prepared. This new approach seems to be very promising in the development of leads for both medicinal and agrochemical applications, as the biological activity of several new hybrids exceeds that of the parent compounds. The advantage of this concept over a combinatorial chemistry approach is the high diversity and the inherent biological activity of the hybrids.