Launch of semi-synthetic artemisinin a milestone for malaria, synthetic biology

New Drug Approvals

Apr 11th, 2013

Launch of semi-synthetic artemisinin a milestone for malaria, synthetic biology

(Nanowerk News) Twelve years after a breakthrough discovery in his University of California, Berkeley, laboratory, professor of chemical engineering Jay Keasling is seeing his dream come true.
On April 11, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi will launch the large-scale production of a partially synthetic version of artemisinin, a chemical critical to making today’s front-line antimalaria drug, based on Keasling’s discovery.read more at nanowerk

http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/biotech/newsid=29955.php

The “semi-synthetic” artemisinin is chemically modified to an active drug, such as artesunate, and combined in ACT with another antimalarial drug to lessen the chance that the malaria parasite will develop resistance to artemisinin. Sanofi plans to produce 35 tons of artemisinin in 2013 and, on average, 50 to 60 tons a year by 2014, which will translate to between 80 and 150 million ACT treatments.

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