In a program to identify new structural entities for the inhibition of the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme via database searching, a series of RT pharmacophores were developed. By utilising a novel filtering technique, the National Cancer Institute database of compounds was scanned producing 15 compounds to be screened for activity. A notable inclusion was a series of gossypol derivatives. The testing of a series of compounds revealed the parent compound gossypol to be an HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitor. These results suggest that at least part of its anti-HIV activity is due to gossypol targeting the non-nucleoside inhibitor binding pocket of RT.