Malaria drug made in yeast causes market ferment : Nature News & CommentPosted: February 13, 2013
Yeast make ACT production faster and more manageable. The microbes are not affected by weather, and they churn out artemisinic acid that is readily turned into semi-synthetic artemisinin, which Sanofi or other makers can convert into ACT ingredients such as artesunate. The whole process takes less than three months. “You get an order, you fire up the bioreactors, and you ship it out,” says Keasling. Sanofi hopes to get WHO approval for semi-synthetic artemisinin in the coming months, says Ponni Subbiah, a drug-development programme leader at PATH, a global health organization based in Seattle, Washington, which has funded and coordinated the development of semi-synthetic artemisinin.