Natural Products Discovery: Caveats, Considerations, Collaboration, Creativy and Contemporary Technology


There exists an enormous global need for new, safe, and effective drugs for a broad range of chronic and acute diseases. Most of these exigencies will not be met by “big Pharma”, ever. Consequently, in many countries, for a healthier and more productive population this pharmaceutical “chasm” must be bridged through alternative discovery efforts. At a time when environmental consciousness is increasing, and oil and coal processing for solvents and chemicals will likely be diminished in the future, synthetic pharmaceuticals cannot be relied on to serve as that bridge for the long-term. Natural products have continued to be a steady source of pharmaceuticals in the past 30 years (Newman & Cragg, 2020). However, a more emphatic, structured, and sustainable return to nature, using the contemporary technologies now available, is by far the best option to address global needs (Daley et al., 2021). This brief letter offers some general thoughts on natural product drug discovery programs and their initiation, operation, and development. It is not an exhaustive assessment, neither are the issues raised fully discussed, thus only a few key references are cited. The intention is to offer a background framework for scientists interested in this vast area of natural product research as they consider conducting their programs and publishing in this new and exciting journal. Five general areas of research development are presented: Caveats, Considerations, Collaborations, Creativity, and Contemporary Technology.