Extracts of samples of a Caribbean tunicate (ascidian, sea squirt) of the family Didemnidae inhibit in vitro at low concentrations the growth of DNA and RNA viruses as well as L1210 leukemic cells. The active compounds isolated from the tunicate, didemnins A, B, and C, are depsipeptides, and didemnin B (a derivative of didemnin A) is the component active at the lowest concentration in inhibiting viral replication in vitro and P388 leukemia in vivo.