A potent antibiotic, which is effective against 'superbugs' that have developed resistance to other antibiotics, has been synthesized for the first time.

Platensimycin is produced naturally by the bacterium Streptomyces platensis and was shown earlier this year to belong to a new class of antibiotic (J. Wang et al. Nature 441, 358361; 2006).

K. C. Nicolaou and his co-workers at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have made a racemic mixture of the compound, meaning that their product contained two mirror-image structures, or enantiomers, of the molecule. Future syntheses may improve on this by giving a single enantiomer.