The Medicine Man Will See You Now

Sophisticated screening targets and laboratories run by robots may help big companies discover drugs more efficiently. But tiny Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc. in San Carlos, Calif., has a different idea. It takes a less-traveled route to finding the specimens it tests as potential drugs. Shaman sends scientists into jungles, primarily in Latin America, to interview traditional healers about the potions they derive from rain-forest plants. High-tech it isn't, but the strategy has centuries of satisfied customers going for it.

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