Drugs from Bugs

Most nature-derived medicines today are sourced from plants, fungi and bacteria. Those medicines that have been extracted from animals have largely come from just a few sources: venomous vertebrates like the gila monster lizard or jararaca snakes, leech saliva, or the venoms and secretions of organisms like sponges or molluscs. But animals are incredibly diverse, and we’ve barely tapped into the potential pharmaceutical use of the most diverse group of all – insects.

 
 
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The Expeditions

Our expeditions will focus on poorly known areas with high species diversity. The species we will target during these expeditions will be guided by ecology, i.e. how and where they live, such as species that produce venoms and defensive secretions and those that live in microhabitats where they’re regularly challenged by potential pathogens. Material collected in the field and prepared in such a way that biological activity is preserved for later laboratory analysis.

 
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The Analysis

On the return to the laboratory, our team will prepare the material by dissecting out the organs and tissues of interest before extracting, isolating and characterising the compounds from this material using state of the art techniques.

 
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The Results

Assays for a range of targets, including bacterial and fungal pathogens, helminthes, cancer cells, metabolic diseases, nervous system, inflammation and immunology. Compounds showing promising biological activity will be added to our library.