The incidence of sepsis is expected to increase at a rate of 1.5% per year. Advances in our understanding of the sepsis syndrome have enabled researchers to identify new therapeutic targets and design therapies for existing mediators of sepsis. Drotrecogin alfa (activated) was the first biological treatment for serious sepsis approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2001. There have also been promising research results involving ethyl pyruvate, glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibitors and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors. Here, we review these four compounds and compound classes as examples of emerging pharmacological treatments of severe sepsis and describe the current status of sepsis research.