The World Health Organization recommends artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) as first-line treatment for malaria. However, ACTs are more expensive than the drugs they are replacing. This is a major barrier to their deployment.
The Artemisinin Enterprise comprises 3 complementary scientific projects that aim to improve artemisinin production technologies and reduce the price of ACTs to patients by:
- Diversifying sources of high quality artemisinin
- Stabilizing supplies & preventing cyclical fluctuations in artemisinin availability
- Lowering cost of artemisinin production
|Semi-synthetic artemisinin through fermentation||A partnership of the Institute for OneWorld Health, University of California, Berkeley, Amyris, and sanofi-aventis called the Artemisinin Project, is using synthetic biology and classic chemistry techniques to develop semisynthetic artemisinin.
|Fast-track breeding of Artemisia||The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) at the University of York, UK, is applying fast-track breeding technologies to Artemisia with the aim of creating new, non-genetically modified (GM) varieties with increased artemisinin yields
|A new class of synthetic peroxides||The Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) is collaborating with a number of research partners including the University of Nebraska, Monash University, and the Swiss Tropical Institute, on the development of a new class of antimalarial compounds with a peroxide bond similar to that of the artemisinin molecule
All three approaches are needed to satisfy projected global demand for ACTs. The projects are collaborating to ensure maximum impact on ACT supply chains and to ensure the new technologies do not enter substandard drug or monotherapy supply chains.