Specialised Metabolites

Specialised (secondary) metabolites display a large chemical diversity with a wide range of bioactivities, and have always played an important role in drug development. Currently, one out of three of all registered drugs, and two out of three of chemo-therapeutics are either derivatives of, or inspired by, specialised small molecules.

Our aim is to advance natural products-based drug research by developing and applying new methodologies for drug design inspired by naturally occurring scaffolds. Our approaches include:

  • targeted large-scale isolation
  • semi-synthesis to reveal structure-activity relationships and to increase drug ability of the compounds
  • functionalisation of specialised small-molecules by flow chemistry.

Further development will include for instance:

  • identification of the target
  • development of pharmacophore models
  • in vivo screening
  • development of methods for obtaining sustainable production of the pharmacologically active compounds. At this stage, promising lead compounds will be further developed in collaboration with biotech or pharmaceutical companies. 

We are also involved in the collaborative research project SPOTLight: Sustainable Production of Thapsigargin using Light.