Lovastatin is a cholesterol-lowering agent that belongs to the class of medications called statins. It was the second agent of this class discovered. It was discovered by Alfred Alberts and his team at Merck in 1978 after screening only 18 compounds over 2 weeks. The agent, also known as mevinolin, was isolated from the fungi Aspergillus terreus. Research on this compound was suddenly shut down in 1980 and the drug was not approved until 1987. Interesting, Akira Endo at Sankyo Co. (Japan) patented lovastatin isolated from Monascus ruber four months before Merck. Lovastatin was found to be 2 times more potent than its predecessor, mevastatin, the first discovered statin. Like mevastatin, lovastatin is structurally similar to hydroxymethylglutarate (HMG), a substituent of HMG-Coenzyme A (HMG-CoA), a substrate of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway via the mevalonic acid pathway. Lovastatin is a competitive inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase with a binding affinity 20,000 times greater than HMG-CoA. Lovastatin differs structurally from mevastatin by a single methyl group at the 6’ position. Lovastatin is a prodrug that is activated by in vivo hydrolysis of the lactone ring. It, along with mevastatin, has served as one of the lead compounds for the development of the synthetic compounds used today.