What is NatureBank?

GRIDD’s NatureBank is a unique drug discovery platform based on natural product extracts and fractions that have been derived from Australian plants, fungi and marine invertebrates.

These samples have been processed into two libraries (a 10,000 natural product extract library and a 50,000 natural product fraction library), which are ready for high-throughput screening against any disease. NatureBank also holds more than 30,000 archived biota samples.

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To access GRIDD’s NatureBank, get in touch

A resource you can access

NatureBank can accelerate drug discovery and is accessible to researchers around the world. Academic and pharma scientists can access NatureBank’s extract and/or fraction libraries to find new compounds that could be developed into new drugs. NatureBank libraries have been shared with more than 30 universities, research institutes and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Targeting disease

NatureBank is being used to search for new drugs to treat and prevent:

  • malaria
  • African sleeping sickness
  • cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • schizophrenia
  • stroke
  • thrombosis
  • tuberculosis
  • HIV
  • Alzheimer’s disease.


Nature has played an important role in drug discovery and development over the past 200 years. Natural products provide unique chemical diversity and complexity that can be exploited as either drugs or starting materials for drug development programs. Between 1981 and 2014, 387 natural product-based drugs were approved for use worldwide, 67 of which were unaltered natural products, while 320 were natural product derivatives.

Some natural products or derivatives exploited for therapeutics include:

  • Paclitaxel (from the Pacific Yew tree bark), used in the treatment of breast, ovarian and non-small cell lung cancers
  • Eribulin (based on a natural product from a marine sponge) used for treating metastatic breast cancer
  • Aspirin (based on the natural product salicin - which was initially isolated from the plant Salix alba - used as an anti-inflammatory drug
  • Penicillin G (from Penicillium fungi), an antibiotic used to treat various bacterial infections.

To explore how NatureBank can aid your research, get in touch.

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Working with industry

NatureBank is available for risk-sharing or fee-for-service screening to provide drug-like lead molecules that hit your targets.

NatureBank services

NatureBank is housed at GRIDD and is accessible to industry partners seeking novel bioactive compounds on a negotiable basis. Screen our libraries for bioactive compounds or improve your libraries using our proprietary Lead-Like Extraction technique.

Our NatureBank services include:

  • Supply of NatureBank extracts or fractions for screening on your assay systems, with follow-up isolation chemistry at GRIDD.
  • Screening of NatureBank extracts or fractions or other libraries against your drug target, using our advanced high-throughput screening system.
  • Processing and optimisation of your natural product libraries of biota or crude extracts into NatureBank fractions to create an assay-ready screening set.

Research collaboration

NatureBank samples can be sent to academic laboratories, biotech and pharma companies and public research institutions around the world for drug discovery projects.

We adopt a flexible and shared approach to these collaborations. Following the initial screening campaign, we work together to decide the next steps which may be:

  • publication
  • joint grant application
  • IP protection
  • commercialisation.

If you’re an academic, non-profit or publicly funded researcher, contact us to find out more about accessing NatureBank and collaborating with us.


Antimalarial advances

A high-throughput screening campaign using the NatureBank fraction library and an in-vitro antimalarial assay identified active fractions derived from the Australian marine sponge Plakortis lita. Subsequent chemical investigations resulted in the discovery of the novel antimalarial agents, thiaplakortones A-D, two of which displayed nanomolar (or nM) activity towards drug-resistant parasites. Read the paper published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry.

Anticancer exploration

In order to identify new anticancer compounds from nature, a prefractionated library derived from Australian endemic plants sourced from NatureBank was generated and screened against the prostate cancer cell line LNCaP using a metabolic assay, resulting in the discovery of 6-AA, a new metabolite with nanomolar (or nM) anticancer activity.  Read the chemistry paper published in the Journal of Natural Products. Mechanism of action (MOA) studies on 6-AA have shown that this natural product is a potent microtubule inhibitor, that binds in a unique mechanism.

Read this MOA paper in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics


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