Water-borne solution to osteoporosis

Forty-one steps and a yield of just 3.5% may not sound too impressive a total synthesis but it has taken chemists almost ten years to reconstruct the complex heptacyclic marine alkaloid, norzoanthamine, first extracted from the sea anemone <i>Zoanthus sp.</i> Masaaki Miyashita's team at Hokkaido University in Japan were first past the post in an international race to synthesise the molecule. The prize could be a new treatment for osteoporosis as norzoanthamine has promising biological activity against the bone-destroying disease in animal models.