The promise of synthetic biology is being realized with the advancement of this product towards commercialization
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) July 10, 2010
The Institute for OneWorld Health (iOWH), a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA, focused on fulfilling the promise of medicines to those who need it the most, announced today that the development activities for semisynthetic artemisinin, a key ingredient in first line malaria treatments, are complete. iOWH also announced that they have received an additional grant of $10.7 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to prepare for large-scale production and commercialization.
Semisynthetic artemisinin is a key ingredient in Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs). iOWH, in partnership with sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, will now be moving toward industrialization, with the intent to commercialize ACTs containing the semisynthetic artemisinin in 2012.
“The accomplishments made by this unique public private partnership harness cutting edge science of synthetic biology to bring us one step closer to enhancing the security of artemisinin supply and ensuring affordable treatment for the more than 500 million people infected with malaria each year,” said Dr. Richard Chin, CEO of iOWH.
iOWH, University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and Amyris Inc. have been working together on the Artemisinin Project since late 2004 to develop a new, low cost technology platform to produce artemisinin. This technology, based on synthetic biology, originated from the laboratories of UCB chemical engineer Jay Keasling, and Amyris engineered the industrial synthetic microbe for large scale manufacturing. sanofi-aventis joined the partnership in 2008 and they are responsible for developing the commercial manufacturing process and commercialization of the product.
“The promise of synthetic biology is being realized with the advancement of this product towards commercialization”, said Keasling, the co- inventor of the technology, a professor of chemical engineering, and a co-founder of Amyris.
The semi synthetic version of artemisinin will be a complementary, high quality source of non-seasonal and affordable artemisinin that can alleviate shortages and meet future demand by supplementing the current botanical supplies derived from the sweet wormwood tree that grows in many parts of the world.
“We are confident that the semisynthetic artemisinin production processes will improve the availability of high-quality artemisinin derivatives to drug manufacturers and enable millions of people infected with malaria to gain access to lifesaving treatments”, said Jack Newman, co-inventor, co-founder and Sr. Vice President of Amyris.
Semisynthetic artemisinin research and development, was funded with a $42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation beginning in December 2004 to iOWH. A $10.7 million grant for commercialization activities was given in November 2009.
About the Institute for OneWorld Health
The Institute for OneWorld Health (iOWH), headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA, is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) US organization. iOWH develops safe, effective and affordable new medicines for people with infectious diseases in the developing world. (http://www.oneworldhealth.org/)
Media resources are available at http://www.oneworldhealth.org/media/index.php
Amyris is building an integrated renewable products company to apply industrial synthetic biology to genetically modify microorganisms, primarily yeast, to serve as living factories. These modified yeast strains convert plant-source sugars into potentially thousands of molecules, providing a broad range of renewable chemicals and transportation fuels. Amyris Brasil S.A., a subsidiary of Amyris, oversees the establishment and expansion of Amyris’s production in Brazil. In addition, Amyris is building fuels distribution capabilities in the United States through its subsidiary, Amyris Fuels, LLC. More information about Amyris and its subsidiaries is available at http://www.amyris.com or http://www.amyrisbrasil.com
Media Contact at Amyris Biotechnologies is Erin Kinsella, pr(at)amyris(dot)com
About the University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley, is the nation's number one public university and is home to more top-ranked departments than any academic institution, public or private. The flagship of the 10-campus University of California system, UC Berkeley enrolls more than 25,000 undergraduates and more than 10,000 graduate students each year. Currently on faculty are seven Nobel Prize winners, 136 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 87 members of the National Academy of Engineering.
Media Contact at UCB is Robert Sanders, rsanders(at)berkeley(dot)edu
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT PARIS: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
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