Amanita onusta

Amanita onusta is found mainly in the northeast and is mychorrhizal with oak and pine. It has a smallish cap densley covered with gray warts on a grayish background. The cap margin is paler. The gills are whitish but become yellowish. The whitish stipe ends in a basal bulb, which is radicating and has upcurved scales tipped with remnants of the universal veil. The partial veil is thin and soon disappears.


LifePharms, Inc . was founded with the mission to provide a new, untapped source of fungal extracts for drug discovery, agrochemical, enzyme, and food science research. Our field collection of North American basidiomycetes and ascomycetes (mushrooms) contain countless chemically diverse and unique compounds.

None of our fungus comes from fungal cultures. All of our samples have all been picked in the wild, identified by mycologists and turned into fungal extracts in our laboratories.

LifePharms' business strategy is to develop collaborations with research companies and academic centers. We intend to capitalize on the diversity and novelty of our fungal compounds in screens against validated therapeutic targets.

We are able to:

  • Supply fungal extracts from LifePharms' three natural product libraries
  • Screen against targets provided by our collaborator
  • Fractionate all bioactive compounds of interest
  • Chemically identify active lead compounds
  • Develop and implement chemical synthesis work.


Natural products have consistently been the most successful source of drug leads. Between 1983 and 1994, 39% of antibacterial and anticancer drugs were derived from natural products. Also, in that same time period, 39% of all new approved drugs were from either natural products or derived from natural products.

Why are LifePharms’ collections good sources for drugs?

LifePharms’ hit rate greatly exceeds the hit rate with synthetic libraries or extracts of cultured organisms. The industry standard is that for every 100,000 to 300,000 samples, there will be an average of 100 to 300 hits. LifePharms’ average hit rate in its previous screens has been two orders of magnitude greater.

Discovery Tools

Unique Natural Product Screening Libraries


Fruiting bodies are extracted with MeOH/H2O(1/1). This library contains polysaccharides, proteins and enzymes, peptides, nucleic acids and polar organic compounds. It is a source of novel enzyme activities of high value to energy and food science companies.


Fungal material is extracted with ethyl acetate. This procedure eliminates 98% of the non-druglike components. These extracts consist largely of unique non-polar organic compounds in the molecular weight range of 300-1000. The extracts are devoid of any salts or enzyme activities that can interfere with many biological assays. Although each extract is unique, the compounds are easily separated and isolated by standard reverse phase and normal chromatographic methods.This collection would contain a wide range of drug-like molecules.


We are developing a library of pure and semi-pure compounds isolated from our non-polar fungal extract library. The collections/species chosen for this fractionation are those with large amounts in our possession. There would be no need for recollection to carry out secondary profiling and chemical identification of any active fraction without recollection.

These three libraries are currently available in 96-well format. 384-well format can be supplied upon request.



May 21, 2010
LifePharms received a NIAID SBIR Phase I grant to develop therapeutics for Leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis affects 12 million people worldwide and has increasingly affected US military servicemen and women stationed abroad.

March 22, 2010
LifePharms received a NIAID SBIR Phase I grant to develop therapeutics for M. turberculosis. LifePharms intends to use its large novel fungal library with state-of-the-art tuberculosis screening. The screening will be done at the University of Illinois at Chicago by Dr. Scott Franzblau.

September 3, 2010
LifePharms received a NIAID SBIR Phase I grant to develop antibacterials that are effective on drug-resistant organisms. Antibiotic drug resistance is an increasing and alarming health concern. LifePharms’ research is in collaboration with Microbiotix, a company specializing in antibacterial research.

March 1, 2009
LifePharms received continued funding of its multi-year NIAID U01 program looking for inhibitors of poxvirus enzymes as novel drugs. LifePharms, in collaboration with Dr. Stewart Shuman of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), have discovered several compounds with interesting biological activities against vaccinia virus.

Press Releases

November 1, 2006
WTIC-TV Hartford features LifePharms, Inc in Health Watch Story.Watch the video.

April 23, 2006
LifePharms, Inc. is listed as "the single most important project" within the Natural Products Utilization Research Program for the US Department of Agriculture's 2005 Annual Report.

September 7, 2005
LifePharms, Inc. is awarded an SBIRII grant for its work on cancer. Its lead compound has demonstrated a ten fold selectivity in killing cancer cells over normal cells when compared to other anticancer agents. This compound is also as potent as leading cancer therapeutics like Camptothecin.Read Article.


Why fungus?

LifePharms' collection of over 16,000 field collected basidiomycetes and ascomycetes (mushrooms) is both unique and highly valuable. Our collection has never previously been systemically collected nor biologically assayed for drug discovery purposes. Our collection includes almost the entire North American range of basidiomycetes and ascomycetes.


© Copyright 2006. LifePharms, Inc. All Rights Reserved.