Natural products in drug discovery: advances and opportunities

Atanasov A. G., Zotchev S. B., Dirsch V. M., ERDOĞAN ORHAN İ., Banach M., Rollinger J. M., ...More

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, vol.20, pp.200-216, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 20
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41573-020-00114-z
  • Journal Name: Nature Reviews Drug Discovery
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.200-216
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Natural products and their structural analogues have historically made a major contribution to pharmacotherapy, especially for cancer and infectious diseases. Nevertheless, natural products also present challenges for drug discovery, such as technical barriers to screening, isolation, characterization and optimization, which contributed to a decline in their pursuit by the pharmaceutical industry from the 1990s onwards. In recent years, several technological and scientific developments - including improved analytical tools, genome mining and engineering strategies, and microbial culturing advances - are addressing such challenges and opening up new opportunities. Consequently, interest in natural products as drug leads is being revitalized, particularly for tackling antimicrobial resistance. Here, we summarize recent technological developments that are enabling natural product-based drug discovery, highlight selected applications and discuss key opportunities.