Biosynthetic production of prescription medicines

Evolva announces the publication of a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) that describes the latest breakthrough for the biosynthetic production of prescription medicines.

The PNAS paper describes the discovery of the initial enzymatic steps towards biosynthesis of ingenol mebutate, a prescription topical agent used for the treatment of actinic keratosis lesions on the skin, as well as for other bioactive macrocyclic diterpenoids.

Actinic keratosis, sometimes referred to as ‘solar keratosis’, appears on the skin as a rough, scaly, off-color lesion (or patchwork of lesions). They typically develop on the scalp, face, lips, ears, hands, arms, and neck following years of exposure to the sun. Actinic keratosis lesions tend to grow very slowly. As such, they are more commonly observed on the skin of older adults. Some of these lesions become cancerous.

Currently, ingenol mebutate is derived from expensive and inefficient plant extraction and chemical synthesis production routes. Looking ahead, this same ingredient can now be produced using a more cost-effective and sustainable biosynthesis production route.

Evolva research scientist Harald Heider and Evolva scientific advisor and University of Copenhagen Plant Biochemistry Professor Birger Lindberg Møller are among the principal investigators and co-authors on this PNAS paper. Click here to access the study, Oxidation and cyclization of casbene in the biosynthesis of Euphorbia factors from mature seeds of Euphorbia lathyris L.

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