The oceans cover over 70% of the earth’s surface and within them there is an amazing
diversity of life. While a tremendous effort has been made to develop drugs utilizing
non-naturally occurring compounds derived through chemical synthesis, developing
therapeutic products from natural sources has also been fruitful. The National Institutes
of Health suggest that over 40% of clinically approved drugs come from nature. Many
marine organisms have evolved in highly competitive niches and have developed small
organic molecules that help them survive. These natural products have led to the
development of new medicines. For example, sponges and tunicates have provided a
wealth of promising “hits” and “leads” derived from an eclectic rich mix of chemical
compounds that exist within these organisms.
The Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology was created to support
Florida researchers who are captivated by this scientific potential.
The goals of this collaborative initiative are to:
- Support the multi-disciplinary research projects across the state that are exploring
ocean-based drug discovery;
- Create synergies and collaborations between Florida-based researchers from public
and private research institutions and biotechnology companies;
- Stimulate team applications for future federal extramural funding;
- Support workshops and informal social gatherings where researchers can
share their research questions to build trans-Florida collaborations.