LONDON - MolecularNature Ltd. (MNL), of Plas Gogerddan, Wales, raised #400,000 (US$636,000) in start-up funding to create a library of compounds extracted from plants.

The company, which has a staff of 15, was spun out from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) in Aberystwyth, Wales.

Apart from developing the library, MNL will also provide analytical chemistry services. Maria Ines Chicarelli, managing director, said the company will maintain a strategic alliance with IGER.

"Essentially, we will evolve and refine the already-proven use of natural products as medicines," Chicarelli said. "Most companies developing new drugs now want to try, or indeed intensify, the use of natural materials. This is mainly because of the greater probability of success, due to the range of molecular diversity and inherent biological activity, when compared to random synthetic chemicals." - Nuala Moran