What Do Snake Venom, Tree Bark, and Drugs Have in Common?


Pain relievers, cough syrup, antihistamines, therapeutic ointments, antiseptic, digestive aids -- you name it, we take it. Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become a normal part of our everyday lives, but few people take the time to think about how new medicines are actually discovered. Do scientists just create drugs from scratch in a laboratory, or do they sometimes draw inspiration from nature? Drugs have actually been discovered using a variety of methods; some are synthetic versions of molecules that the human body makes naturally, like insulin or testosterone, while others are derived from more exotic sources like snake venom and tree bark.

In the following video, Motley Fool health care analyst Max Macaluso discusses the surprising stories behind the discovery of three drugs, namely Bristol-Myers Squibb's off-patent drug Capoten, AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb's diabetes medication Byetta, and Celgene's cancer drug Abraxane.

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The article What Do Snake Venom, Tree Bark, and Drugs Have in Common? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Max Macaluso, Ph.D. has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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