Bioprospecting Model for a New Colombia Drug Discovery Initiative in the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Juan BuenoEmail author
  • Sebastian Ritoré


In these times of environmental and global threats that prompt the emergence of infectious diseases, new challenges require new initiatives for developing therapeutics and bringing them to market, for obtaining commitments from the market, and for acquiring public research and development funding. Organizational models have emerged to expedite these initiatives, such as public–private partnerships and not-for-profit product development partnerships, including the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, the Medicines for Malaria Venture, and the Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development. One promising approach in relation to drug discovery that captures the natural value of biodiversity is bioprospecting: in order to treat disease, this multidisciplinary line combines ecology, pharmacology, and therapeutics in the search for new chemical entities from organisms native to tropical rain forests and other ecosystems. Their effectiveness inevitably varies, but the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups program of the National Institutes of Health identifies several advantages in terms of economic growth and in other ways: they help to prevent biodiversity loss, promote the building of scientific capacity and the protection of intellectual property rights in developing countries, and boost the search for new biological resources. Nearly 30% of the new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration between 2008 and 2012 originated from natural products, which, to extrapolate from biodiversity analyses under the Nagoya Protocol, indicates a large source for new drugs and potentially a large market for them. Furthermore, it has been estimated that the benefits in this area come from preclinical research, and that 17% of pharmaceutical research is being undertaken by small companies; these firms are developing projects to evaluate the biological consequences of biodiversity in order to develop new products, and they produce a third of the new drugs entering the market. Finally, this chapter shows the potential of Colombian biodiversity for the pharmaceutical industry in a model that maintains the link between conservation and bioprospecting in order to achieve sustainable economic development connected to human health.


Bioprospecting Colombian biodiversity Drug discovery Pharmaceutical industry 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center of Bioprospecting and Biotechnology for Biodiversity Foundation (BIOLABB)BogotáColombia

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