Cyclophilin inhibitors currently in clinical trials for hepatitis C virus (HCV) are all analogues of cyclosporine (CsA). Sanglifehrins are a group of naturally occurring cyclophilin binding polyketides that are structurally distinct from the cyclosporines and are produced by a microorganism amenable to biosynthetic engineering for lead optimization and large-scale production by fermentation. Preclinical characterization of the potential utility of this class of compounds for the treatment of HCV revealed that the natural sanglifehrins A to D are all more potent than CsA at disrupting formation of the NS5A-CypA, -CypB, and -CypD complexes and at inhibition of CypA, CypB, and CypD isomerase activity. In particular, sanglifehrin B (SfB) was 30- to 50-fold more potent at inhibiting the isomerase activity of all Cyps tested than CsA and was also shown to be a more potent inhibitor of the 1b subgenomic replicon (50% effective concentrations [EC50s] of 0.070 μM and 0.16 μM in Huh 5-2 and Huh 9-13 cells, respectively). Physicochemical and mouse pharmacokinetic analyses revealed low oral bioavailability (F<4%) and low solubility (<25 μM), although the half-lives (t1/2) of SfA and SfB in mouse blood after intravenous (i.v.) dosing were long (t1/2>5 h). These data demonstrate that naturally occurring sanglifehrins are suitable lead compounds for the development of novel analogues that are less immunosuppressive and that have improved metabolism and pharmacokinetic properties.