Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Semisynthetic synthesis of artemisinin
Biological production of artemisinic
acid and chemical conversion of the acid to artemisinin could
help supply first-line treatments for malaria infection at low cost.
Artemisinin is naturally produced in the plant Artemisia annua. Saccharomyces
cerevisiae expressing A. annua enzymes synthesized the artemisinin
precursor artemisinic acid, which then was extracted from suspension at more
than 10-fold higher titers than those produced by other methods. A 4-step
chemical synthesis process was used to synthesize artemisinin from
artemisinic acid with an overall yield of 40%-45% and with higher purity than
plant-derived artemisinin. Next steps include commercializing the process to
produce artemisinin-based combination therapies to treat malaria infection.
Novartis AG markets the
artemisinin-based combination therapy Coartem
to treat malaria.
Sigma-Tau Group and Pfizer Inc. market Eurartesim
to treat malaria.
Suda Ltd.'s ArTiMist,
a sublingual aerosol formulation of artemisinin, is in Phase III testing for
Published online April 25, 2013
Patent status undisclosed; Amyris
Inc. exclusively licensed the technology to the Institute
for OneWorld Health, which has licensed it to Sanofi;
available for licensing for non-malaria indications
Paddon, C.J. et al.
Nature; published online April 10, 2013;
Contact: Chris J. Paddon, Amyris Inc., Emeryville, Calif.
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