Amyris Scientists Describe Breakthrough in Development of Anti-Malarial Drug
Sanofi Utilizing Amyris Engineered Yeast Strains to Produce Life-Saving Drug
Ingredient at Scale
EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 11, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Scientists from Amyris,
Inc. (Nasdaq:AMRS), a leading renewable chemicals and fuels company, published
in the journal Nature the details of a major breakthrough in the field of
synthetic biology that allows for the production of a key precursor to
Artemisinin, the key ingredient in the world's most effective and preferred
drug in combating malaria. Earlier today, pharmaceutical company Sanofi
announced the launch of large-scale industrial production of Artemisinin
utilizing Amyris designed strains.
"Yesterday, a group of scientists led by Amyris detailed how we engineered
simple baker's yeast strains to produce unprecedented concentrations of the
precursor to the anti-malarial drug ingredient. Today, Amyris scientists
celebrate Sanofi's successful launch of the industrial production of the
world's first semi-synthetic Artemisinin utilizing Amyris designed strains,"
said John Melo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Amyris.
"Sanofi's commercial launch of this key precursor to life-saving drugs
produced with our technology underscores not only the success of Amyris's
synthetic biology platform at scale but also the positive impact this
technology can have on our planet," Melo concluded.
Malaria is a preventable disease that affects over a quarter of a billion
people and claims the lives of 650,000 people annually, mostly children under
the age of five in Africa. Artemisinin, sourced from the wormwood plant,
Artemisia annua, has been used for centuries in treating malaria but its
availability, cost and quality have been highly volatile.
Working with a number of partners, and with generous support from the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation via OneWorld Health (now PATH's Drug Development
Program), Amyris developed technology to convert plant-sugars into Artemisinic
Acid, a late stage precursor to the anti-malarial drug ingredient,
Artemisinin. The details of this breakthrough process, as well as an
alternative process for converting Artemisinic Acid into Artemisinin, can be
found in the online publication of the scientific journal Nature.
In 2008, as part of this non-profit project, Amyris made available its
Artemisinic Acid-producing yeast strains to Sanofi, via OneWorld Health, on a
royalty-free basis. As separately announced by Sanofi earlier today, this
technology is now being used at large-scale to produce Artemisinin, which will
be combined in pill form with another anti-malarial in what is called
Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT). Sanofi has indicated it plans to
produce enough semi-synthetic Artemisinin for up to 150 million ACT treatments
by 2014 and will ensure its distribution under the "no profit, no loss"
"Amyris technology will alleviate drug manufacturers' dependency on erratic
supply of plant-derived Artemisinin and reduce costs to malaria patients. This
non-profit project is at the core of Amyris's values and culture, born from a
passion to make a positive impact in the world through science," said Jack
Newman, Amyris co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer.
Amyris will present these results alongside other related scientific advances
at "World Malaria Day, A Bay Area Scientific Symposium." The event will be
held in Emeryville, CA on April 25 and hosted by the United Nations
Association of the USA, Nothing But Nets, the University of California at
Davis and Zagaya, a non-profit created and funded by the founders of Amyris.
About Amyris, Inc.
Amyris is an integrated renewable products company focused on providing
sustainable alternatives to a broad range of petroleum-sourced products.
Amyris uses its industrial synthetic biology platform to convert plant sugars
into a variety of hydrocarbon molecules—flexible building blocks that can be
used in a wide range of products. Amyris's initial portfolio of commercial
products is based on Biofene, Amyris's brand of renewable farnesene, a
long-chain hydrocarbon. Amyris is commercializing these products both as No
Compromise® renewable ingredients in cosmetics, flavors and fragrances,
polymers, lubricants and consumer products, and also as No Compromise
renewable diesel and jet fuel. Amyris Brasil Ltda., a subsidiary of Amyris,
oversees the establishment and expansion of Amyris's production in Brazil.
More information about Amyris is available at www.amyris.com.
This release contains forward-looking statements, and any statements other
than statements of historical facts could be deemed to be forward-looking
statements. These forward-looking statements include, among other things,
statements regarding future events (such as expected timing, scale, economics
and impact of semi-synthetic Artemisinin production and distribution) that
involve risks and uncertainties. These statements are based on management's
current expectations and actual results and future events may differ
materially due to risks and uncertainties, including those associated with any
delays or failures in development, production or commercialization of
products, liquidity and ability to fund capital expenditures, Amyris's
reliance on third parties to achieve its goals, and other risks detailed in
the "Risk Factors" section of Amyris's quarterly report on Form 10-K filed on
March 28, 2013. Amyris disclaims any obligation to update information
contained in these forward-looking statements whether as a result of new
information, future events, or otherwise.
Amyris, Biofene and No Compromise are trademarks or registered trademarks of
Amyris, Inc. This press release also contains trademarks of other businesses
that are the property of their respective owners.
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