ARTICLE ABSTRACTDespite significant treatment advances over the past decade, multiple myeloma (MM) remains largely incurable. In this study we found that MM cells were remarkably sensitive to the death-inducing effects of a new class of sangivamycin-like molecules (SLM). A panel of structurally related SLMs selectively induced apoptosis in MM cells but not other tumor or nonmalignant cell lines at submicromolar concentrations. SLM6 was the most active compound in vivo, where it was well tolerated and significantly inhibited growth and induced apoptosis of MM tumors. We determined that the anti-MM activity of SLM6 was mediated by direct inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9), which resulted in transcriptional repression of oncogenes that are known to drive MM progression (MAF, CCND1, MYC, and others). Furthermore, SLM6 showed superior in vivo anti-MM activity more than the CDK inhibitor flavopiridol, which is currently in clinical trials for MM. These findings show that SLM6 is a novel CDK9 inhibitor with promising preclinical activity as an anti-MM agent. Mol Cancer Ther; 11(11); 2321–30. ©2012 AACR.