It was isolated from the mold Penicillium citrinum by Akira Endo in the 1970s and he identified it as a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, i.e.; a statin. Mevastatin might be considered the first statin drug, but, although clinical trials on mevastatin were performed in the late 1970s in Japan, it was never marketed.The first statin drug available to the general public was lovastatin. In vitro it has antiproliferative properties.
A British group isolated the same compound from Penicillium brevicompactum, named it compactin and also published it in 1976. The British group mentions anti-fungal properties with no mention of HMG-CoA Reductase inhibition.
High doses inhibit growth and proliferation of melanoma cells.
Ajaz Ahmad, M Mujeeb, Bibhu Prasad Panda (2010) An HPTLC Method for the Simultaneous Analysis of Compactin and Citrinin in Penicillium citrinum Fermentation Broth. Journal of Planar Chromatography-Modern TLC, 23 (4), 282–285 
^Endo, Akira; Kuroda M., Tsujita Y. (December 1976). "ML-236A, ML-236B, and ML-236C, new inhibitors of cholesterogenesis produced by Penicillium citrinium". Journal of Antibiotics (Tokyo)29 (12): 1346–8. doi:10.7164/antibiotics.29.1346. PMID1010803.
^"Crystal and Molecular Structure of Compactin, a New Antifungal Metabolite from Penicillium brevicompactum." Alian G. Brown, Terry C. Smale, Trevor J. King, Rainer Hasenkamp and Ronald H. Thompson. J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 1, 1976, 1165-1170. DOI:10.1039/P19760001165