Amyris developed technology capable of creating microbial strains to produce artemisinic acid — a precursor of artemisinin, an effective anti-malarial drug.
The Malaria Challenge
Malaria is a preventable disease that affects over a quarter of a billion people and claims the lives of about one million people every year the lives of nearly a million people a year, mostly children under the age of five in Africa. In addition to its debilitating impact on the health of populations in developing countries, malaria has also been shown to be a major constraint to economic development.
Malaria patients can be treated with highly effective Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs), but cultivating and extracting artemisinin, which comes from the Chinese Sweet Wormwood plant, is expensive and time consuming. Lack of access to this vital compound prevents millions of people in the developing world from receiving critical ACTs.
Technology for Impact
Amyris first developed and applied our technology
to create microbial strains that produce artemisinic acid, a precursor of artemisinin, a highly effective anti-malarial therapeutic. This work was funded by a five year grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Amyris is working to ensure access to affordable malaria treatments in the developing world. We granted a royalty-free license for this technology to Sanofi for the manufacture and commercialization of artemisinin-based drugs with a goal of market availability by 2013. As commercial scale production is reached, artemisinin will be available to other ACT manufacturers to diversify supply and lower the cost of high-quality artemisinin.
Amyris scientists, working with others in their field, have detailed in a major breakthrough in the scientific journal Nature
. In the journal, scientists describe how they engineered simple Baker’s yeast strains to produce never seen before concentrations of the precursor to the anti-malarial drug ingredient Artemisinic acid.The details of this breakthrough process, as well as an alternative process for converting Artemisinic Acid into Artemisinin, can be found in the online version of Nature