Purine nucleotides are ubiquitous molecules that play vital roles in all kingdoms of life, not only as components of nucleic acids, but also participating in signaling and energy storage. Cellular pools of purines are maintained by the tight control of several complementary and sometimes competing processes including de novo biosynthesis, salvage and catabolism of nucleotides. While great strides have been made over the past sixty years in understanding the biosynthesis of purines, we are experiencing a renaissance in this field. In this feature article we discuss the most recent discoveries relating to purine biosynthesis, with particular emphasis upon the dynamic multi-protein complex called the purinosome. In particular we highlight advances made towards understanding the assembly, control and function of this protein complex and the attempts made to exploit this knowledge for drug discovery.