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The pharmaceutical value of marine biodiversity for anti-cancer drug discovery

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  • Erwin, Patrick M.
  • López-Legentil, Susanna
  • Schuhmann, Peter W.
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    Abstract

    Marine biodiversity is a resource of enormous importance to human societies that provides critical ecosystem services. Economic valuation of some services has been utilized to promote conservation initiatives by revealing a tangible and causative link between biodiversity declines and economic losses. Other ecosystem services have eluded valuation, including the value of the sea as a repository of novel pharmaceuticals. Here, we provide the first global estimate of the number, source and market value of undiscovered oncology drugs based on empirical data, industry statistics and conservative modelling assumptions. We report US$563Â billion-5.69Â trillion attributable to anti-cancer drugs of marine origin pending discovery, revealing a new and substantial at-risk ecosystem service value. Our model predicted 253,120-594,232 novel chemicals in marine organisms; 90.4-92.6% of these compounds remain undiscovered. A total of 55 to 214 new anti-cancer drugs were predicted to reach the market sourced primarily from animal phyla (Chordata, Mollusca, Porifera, and Byrozoa) and microbial phyla (Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria). While no single aspect of extractive marine resource value should be relied upon to account for the opportunity costs of conservation initiatives, the application of valuation models to ecosystem services further reveals the true, irreversible economic cost of habitat degradation and biodiversity declines.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-51C2Y6D-1/2/02f957ed2097a2ce6ec632fe775d73d9
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 70 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 445-451

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2010:i:2:p:445-451

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Resource valuation Ecosystem service Drug discovery Cancer Marine biodiversity Marine natural products;

    References

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    1. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
    2. Ilhem Kassar & Pierre Lasserre, 2002. "Species Preservation and Biodiversity Value: A Real Options Approach," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 20-18, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
    3. R. Simpson, 2007. "David Pearce and the economic valuation of biodiversity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 91-109, May.
    4. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
    5. Costello, Christopher & Ward, Michael, 2006. "Search, bioprospecting and biodiversity conservation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 615-626, November.
    6. Holmlund, Cecilia M. & Hammer, Monica, 1999. "Ecosystem services generated by fish populations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 253-268, May.
    7. Amy Craft & R. Simpson, 2001. "The Value of Biodiversity in Pharmaceutical Research with Differentiated Products," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 18(1), pages 1-17, January.
    8. Brander, Luke M. & Van Beukering, Pieter & Cesar, Herman S.J., 2007. "The recreational value of coral reefs: A meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 209-218, June.
    9. Nijkamp, Peter & Vindigni, Gabriella & Nunes, Paulo A.L.D., 2008. "Economic valuation of biodiversity: A comparative study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 217-231, September.
    10. Simpson, R David & Sedjo, Roger A & Reid, John W, 1996. "Valuing Biodiversity for Use in Pharmaceutical Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 163-85, February.
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