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The company will use funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a new production method for artemisinin, a therapeutic used to treat malaria.
Manus Bio, a company specializing in the production of natural products through advanced fermentation, announced on Jan. 11, 2018 that it has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of a scalable and economical production method for artemisinin, a therapeutic used to treat malaria.
The company will use its proprietary microbial chassis and enzyme engineering approaches to develop an advanced fermentation process for low-cost manufacturing of artemisinin.
According to a company press release, artemisinin was the subject of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Tu Youyou based on her work in identifying the molecule as a potential treatment for malaria. Tu’s research in traditional Chinese medicine led her to identify an extract from the plant Artemisia annua as a treatment for malaria.
"Malaria remains one of the largest health problems in the world today which, despite great progress in recent years, still kills over 600,000 people in a given year. Artemisinin combination therapies are recommended by the World Health Organization as first line treatment of malaria, but the vast majority of artemisinin produced today is derived from plants. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are deploying our fermentation technology to lower the cost of artemisinin, create a stable supply, and expand its use," said Dr. Ajikumar Parayil, CEO of Manus Bio, in the release.
Source: Manus Bio