Fragmento del articulo : ... Algunas compañías ya se han centrado en el descubrimiento de fármacos de origen marino, el más conocido de los cuales es la compañía con sede en España PharmaMar en cuyo caso se centra en medicamentos contra el cáncer.
"We’re just scratching the surface" of understanding the chemistry—and healing potential—in the ocean.
Some of the world’s most used medicines were directly inspired by compounds
found in nature. Morphine, for example, was first extracted from opium in a pure
form in the early 1800s, and Taxol, one of the most-used cancer drugs, is based
on compounds originally isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. Aspirin
is one of the oldest nature-inspired drugs, modifying from compounds discovered
in willow tree bark.
Natural products are still crucial to drug discovery today. According to a
2012 study, up to 50% of drugs approved in the last 30 years were directly
or indirectly sourced from nature. But for drug companies, the 1990s was the
height of their interest in "bioprospecting," or looking in nature for potential
new drug compounds.
The company, called
Sirenas, is focused on hunting for new drugs in the ocean, where organisms
have evolved nuanced, unique chemistries for competing, communicating, and
defending themselves over hundreds of millions of years of evolution. "The
chemistry in the ocean—we’re just scratching the surface of understanding it,"
Only a few other companies have focused on marine-based drug discovery, the
best known of which is Spain-based company PharmaMar, which harvests the ocean
for cancer drugs. And Seattle Genetics has an approved biologic anticancer drug
on the market made partly from a synthetic version of a marine-derived compound.
Esquenazi says Sirenas is focused on harnessing the explosion of computational
resources, artificial intelligence, and data mining that could allow it to make
discoveries much faster than in the past.
The World Health Organization says that more than 1 billion people today
suffer from one or more neglected diseases. With the $775,000 Gates Foundation
grant, Sirenas will focus on finding new molecules that could offer treatments.
As it is today, pharmaceutical companies tend not to pursue these drugs. With
these diseases affecting the poorest nations, it’s difficult to make a profit,
so nonprofits and governments step in.