NCI’s Natural Product Library — A resource for antimicrobial discovery

4 Mar 2020 update: I recently confirmed with Barry O’Keefe (see his email below) that (i) the program is up and running with 326,000 fractions currently available and (ii) the library is available to researchers world-wide. Please contact Barry if you want to take advantage of this program!


Dear All:

I learned very recently about the National Cancer Institute’s Natural Products Branch (NPB) and its program for Natural Product Discovery (NPNPD) as a resource for antimicrobial discovery. Started some years ago as a resource initially for cancer drug discovery, the NPB now has a global collection of extracts (aqueous and organic) from >230,000 sources: ~161k plant-based, ~41k marine-based, and ~30k microbial-based.

The goal for the NPNPD is creation of a ~1,000,000 fraction library of semi-pure natural product samples that are amenable to modern screening technologies. The work is well-launched and an initial collection of ~150k prefractionated samples will be available in January 2019.

The library will be available pre-platted in 384-well plates that are ready for use in your screening system with 10 micrograms of material per well (enough to make 1 mL at 10 micrograms/mL, the highest screening concentration that is recommended). The library is free — the user pays only shipping charges. Secondary fractionation services to support hit analysis will also be available for a fee. Finally, an impressive amount of supportive bioinformatics will be available to allow aggregation of data on each sample’s properties … imagine if you will a Wiki page for each sample! 

This feels like a real game-changer for natural product screening — please take a look and see if this might be useful in your work! To learn more, here are 3 places to start:

  • A somewhat dated description of the NPD is available here.
  • The Sep 2018 issue ACS Biology has an article about the NCI-NPL.
  • A .pdf of the presentation I heard today can be found here. Please be forewarned that this is a 36 MB file … be patient!

The contact point at NCI is Dr. Barry O’Keefe, Chief of the Natural Products Branch. He can be reached at either or

Wow! Many thanks to the Natural Products Branch at NCI for making this happen. Happy drug-hunting!

All best wishes, –jr

John H. Rex, MD | Chief Medical Officer, F2G Ltd. | Expert-in-Residence, Wellcome Trust. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnRex_NewAbx. See past newsletters and subscribe for the future:

General notes of interest for the AMR community

  • Novo’s REPAIR Impact fund will re-open for proposals during the window 4 Sep – 11 Oct. Watch for further news here.
  • IMI AMR Accelerator programme Pillar A within IMI Call 15: Capability-building network to manage the whole accelerator and strengthen AMR science. This is a two-stage call, with letter of intent from applicants expected on 24 Oct 2018.
  • IMI AMR Accelerator programme Pillar B: Tuberculosis drug development network within IMI Call 15: Tuberculosis drug development network to collaboratively progress TB compounds and validate new tools for TB drug development. This is a two-stage call, with letter of intent from applicants expected on 24 Oct 2018.
  • IMI Call 16: A series of individual programs where a single EFPIA partner works with a consortium to progress compounds for for TB, non-tuberculous mycobacteria, and Gram-negatives. This is a one-stage call, with full proposal from the EFPIA and applicant consortium expected on 24 Oct 2018.
  • BARDA DRIVe’s Solving Sepsis Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-18-100-SOL-00018) is open for applications through 31 May 2019. See also this prior newsletter as well as the website for general details.

Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community:


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