The principles guiding the design and synthesis of bioactive compounds based on natural product (NP) structure, such as biology-oriented synthesis (BIOS), are limited by their partial coverage of the NP-like chemical space of existing NPs and retainment of bioactivity in the corresponding compound collections. Here we propose and validate a concept to overcome these limitations by de novo combination of NP-derived fragments to structurally unprecedented 'pseudo natural products'. Pseudo NPs inherit characteristic elements of NP structure yet enable the efficient exploration of areas of chemical space not covered by NP-derived chemotypes, and may possess novel bioactivities. We provide a proof of principle by designing, synthesizing and investigating the biological properties of chromopynone pseudo NPs that combine biosynthetically unrelated chromane- and tetrahydropyrimidinone NP fragments. We show that chromopynones define a glucose uptake inhibitor chemotype that selectively targets glucose transporters GLUT-1 and -3, inhibits cancer cell growth and promises to inspire new drug discovery programmes aimed at tumour metabolism.