Third set of awards are announced under interagency biodiversity program

to identify new drugs through screening of flora and fauna while protecting biodiversity. The groups are consortia of public and private institutions, including universities, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and indigenous environmental and community groups.

Projects include the identification and characterization of chemical compounds derived from biological diversity that have potential as therapeutic agents for diseases such as cancer, AIDS, parasitic diseases, drug addiction, mental conditions and heart disease, all of which are of concern to both developed and developing countries. Other important components include evaluation of traditional medicine practices, discovery of safe new agents for agricultural applications, conduct of biodiversity surveys and Inventories, development of strategies to ensure sustainable yield of biodiversity-based therapies, and training and infrastructure support for host-country scientific institutions.

Intellectual property agreements are negotiated among participating institutions so that economic and other benefits from both the research process and products are equitably shared and accrue to local institutions and communities involved. Contributions from pharmaceutical and agroscience companies include screening for therapeutic potential, training opportunities, technology donations, financial support, and royalties from the sale of any product developed as a result of ICBG research.


ICBG awards include five comprehensive projects and seven planning grants. Comprehensive projects include the following:

  • William Gerwick in collaboration with Phyllis D. Coley and colleagues at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, building on a previous five-year ICBG award, are using ecological insight to build a sustainable bioprospecting program in Panama for discovery of both pharmaceutical and agricultural products from plants and marine

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
National Science Foundation

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