Subscribe to Newsletter
Manufacture Small Molecules

Practical Innovation

In this issue, we highlight the pioneering work of scientists from the Max Planck Institutes in Potsdam and Magdeburg, who received the inaugural Humanity in Science Award, supported by our sister magazine The Analytical Scientist. Peter Seeberger and Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern have spent several years developing a new production method to increase the yield of crucial artemesinin-based malaria drugs. The resulting photochemical reactor can transform waste products generated during traditional extraction from the source plant, sweet wormwood, into a range of anti-malarial drugs. The technology required is not overly complex, expensive or bulky – in fact, the apparatus fits into a suitcase, and Seeberger estimates that 400 of these systems would take care of the worldwide production of artemisinin.

Increasing production efficiency using continuous flow processing may not sound like a particularly dramatic innovation, but the potential impact is huge. Malaria is a disease of poverty, killing hundreds of thousands of people (mostly children under 5) every year and placing a huge economic burden on some of the world’s poorest regions. At present, the cost of production of artemisinin drugs is higher than the affordable price in sub-Saharan Africa where the disease is most prevalent. Counterfeit drugs consequently flood the market. If the drugs were cheaper, governments and NGOs could invest in other valuable initiatives and the temptation to buy potentially fake drugs on the black market would be reduced.

The award illustrates the fact that innovation is not the sole preserve of scientists concocting the latest breakthrough drug in the research lab. Pharma R&D is picking up again, with the highest number of new drug approvals for years, but it’s widely acknowledged that the era of blockbuster drugs is over – the low-hanging fruit is gone. But what about drug development and manufacture?

In its first six months, The Medicine Maker has explored new production methods that could revolutionize both small and large molecule manufacturing; environmental initiatives for ‘green’ drug production; and innovative drug delivery mechanisms. In this issue, we explore targeted delivery mechanisms that could allow toxic drugs to be administered without side effects (read article); anyone who has visited a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy will know what a difference this could make to their lives. Even something simple like a new tablet design could help elderly patients who drop more drugs than they take.

It is widely acknowledged that drug production has lagged behind in the innovation stakes. For creative medicine makers, perhaps the low-hanging fruit is still up for grabs…

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Medicine Maker and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

About the Author
Charlotte Barker

As an Editor at Texere, I’m working closely with our audience to create vibrant, engaging content that reflects the hard work and passion that goes into bringing new medicines to market. I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals and have spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine, so I know my way around. And I can’t think of a more interesting, challenging or important area to be working in.

Register to The Medicine Maker

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Medicine Maker magazine