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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides grant of USD267,870 to Southwest Research Institute.

M2 PHARMA-June 29, 2018-Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides grant of USD267,870 to Southwest Research Institute


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a grant of USD267,870 to the United States-based Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to develop new technology to decrease the cost of artemisinin, the primary drug used to treat malaria, it was reported yesterday.

'Malaria is a huge problem affecting people worldwide,' said Dr Shawn Blumberg, a research scientist in SwRI's Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division. 'Malaria remains one of the oldest known diseases to plague humans. We will be working to develop a new chemistry technique to develop artemisinin treatment.'

Presently, Artemisinin is extracted from the sweet wormwood plant, which takes around eight-months to mature and yields about 15 grams of artemisinin for every kilogram of plant. Previous efforts to lower the cost of artemisinin involved the use of bioengineered yeast to produce artemisinic acid, a synthetic precursor of the drug. This process, however, has yet to replace sweet wormwood as the primary source of the drug. Southwest Research Institute will develop a novel process to use the more abundant Amorpha-4, 11-diene as a cost-effective starting material to make high-quality, semisynthetic artemisinin. SwRI is collaborating with Dr Doug Frantz, who holds the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Distinguished Professorship in Chemistry at The University of Texas at San Antonio, on this new technology. The grant was awarded in April 2018 and will run until April 2019.

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Publication:M2 Pharma
Date:Jun 29, 2018
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