Affiliation: Grupo de Estudos em Química Organica e Biologica (GEQOB), Departamento de Quimica, ICEx, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, 31270-901, Brazil.
Nature is an irrefutable source of inspiration for the modern man in many aspects. The observation and understanding of nature have allowed the development of new materials, new sources of energies, new drugs etc. Specifically, natural products provide a great contribution to the development of new agents for the treatment of infections and antitumor agents. However, obtaining natural products directly from animals, fungi, bacteria, plants etc has been considered not enough to attend the high demand by pharmaceutical industries. In this regard, various strategies based on biotechnological processes or synthetic approaches have been developed. In this scenario the total synthesis can be undoubtedly a useful and powerful tool for obtaining higher amounts of natural products and/or structural modifications thereof. Herein, we emphasize successful examples of total synthesis of galanthamine, morphine, paclitaxel and podophyllotoxin - natural products approved as pharmaceuticals.