Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemist develops new synthesis of most useful, yet expensive, antimalarial drug

Date:
September 13, 2012
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
In 2010 malaria caused an estimated 665,000 deaths, mostly among African children. Now, chemists have developed a new synthesis for the world's most useful antimalarial drug, artemisinin, giving hope that fully synthetic artemisinin might help reduce the cost of the live-saving drug in the future.

The chemcial structure of artemisinin, above, which was recently synthesized in a new process developed in the lab of chemist Silas Cook and then patented by Indiana University.
Credit: Image courtesy of Indiana University

In 2010 malaria caused an estimated 665,000 deaths, mostly among African children. Now, chemists at Indiana University have developed a new synthesis for the world's most useful antimalarial drug, artemisinin, giving hope that fully synthetic artemisinin might help reduce the cost of the live-saving drug in the future.

Effective deployment of ACT, or artemisinin-based combination therapy, has been slow due to high production costs of artemisinin. The World Health Organization has set a target "per gram" cost for artemisinin of 25 cents or less, but the current cost is about $2.40 per gram, and production of low-cost semi-synthetic artemisinin has yet to materialize.

"In 2005, the WHO claimed that the structure of artemisinin was too complex for cost-effective synthesis," said IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences chemistry professor Silas Cook. "We saw this as a natural challenge to the creativity and tenacity of organic chemists."

Published recently in the Journal of the American Chemical Society as "A Concise Synthesis of Artemisinin," Cook and postdoctoral co-author Chunyin Zhu report a succinct five-part process beginning with inexpensive cyclohexenone, an ideal feedstock available on metric-ton scale. Subsequent chemistry highlights several new reactions developed in the Cook group to enable this short, low-cost synthesis.

The result was the production of fully synthetic artemisinin on gram scale, greater than all previous total syntheses combined.

"The key to the ultimate success of synthetic artemisinin will be the large-scale production of the drug," Cook said. "As such, we had to completely rethink what qualified as suitable starting materials for this synthesis and invent new chemistry." The result was the use of readily available commodity chemicals in a process that was shorter than any other artemisinin total synthesis ever conducted.

The next challenge will be to move from gram-scale to kilogram-scale production, a process Cook may or may not be involved with.

"There is still work to be done. And we'd love to do it here, but the project has yet to attract outside funding," he said. "This is still in an experimental phase until you can scale up. We patented it, so the intellectual property rights are in place."

Cook came to IU in 2008 following post-doctoral work with Eric Jacobsen, developer of the Jacobsen expoxidation, at Harvard University, and after finishing a Ph.D. with Columbia University's Samuel J. Danishefsky, where the lab focuses on the synthesis of antitumor and anti-infective natural products and fully synthetic vaccines.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chunyin Zhu, Silas P. Cook. A Concise Synthesis of ( )-Artemisinin. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012; 134 (33): 13577 DOI: 10.1021/ja3061479

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Chemist develops new synthesis of most useful, yet expensive, antimalarial drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913104040.htm>.
Indiana University. (2012, September 13). Chemist develops new synthesis of most useful, yet expensive, antimalarial drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913104040.htm
Indiana University. "Chemist develops new synthesis of most useful, yet expensive, antimalarial drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120913104040.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins