Over the past quarter-century, more than 10,000 compounds have been reported from marine-derived-organismsThese compounds encompass a wide variety of chemical structures including acetogenins, polyketides, terpenes, alkaloids, peptides and many compounds of mixed biosynthesis.

At least 12 marine-derived compounds are currently under clinical investigation for use as anticancer agents. These include ecteinascidin, which is in Phase III clinical trials; aplidine, which is in Phase II trials; dolastatin, which is in Phase I trials.Research on these organisms has led to the publication of over 100 structures with over 92 patents issued. One of the more notable compounds discovered at HBOI is discodermolide.

These compounds were first isolated from the sponge Spongosorites ruetzleri and are under development for use as additives in anti-inflammatory skin creams. A compound under investigation for the treatment of cancer, is the lasonolides. These compounds come from the sponge Forcepia, which commonly occurs in deep-sea habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. Research to provide a large-scale supply for clinical use suggests that aquaculture and molecular methods may be useful in production. A multi-step synthesis has also recently been accomplished.

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