A Possible Victory Against Malaria

The scepticalchymist is a science blog, devoted largely to chemistry and chemical biology, by the editors of Nature and the Research journals. Joshua Finkelstein, associate editor of Nature, has a post on yesterday’s news in the BBC, which reported that scientists have found a technique which may lead to a cheap production of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, which as part of a drug regimen is nearly 100% effective.

This work was funded by a $42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was was awarded to the California Institute of Quantitative Biomedical Research at University of California, Berkeley, Amyris Biotechnologies, and the Institute for OneWorld Health (a non-profit pharmaceutical company). It’s an interesting collaboration:

To ensure affordability, UC Berkeley has issued a royalty-free license to both OneWorld Health and Amyris to develop the technology to treat malaria. Amyris will transform the Keasling lab’s research into a robust fermentation process and perform the chemistry and scale-up necessary to bring the drug to market. OneWorld Health will conduct pre-clinical studies and implement a global access strategy for the drug.