Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have teamed up with a small biotech company and a non-profit pharmaceutical to produce a simpler, inexpensive way to make an anti-malarial drug called artemisinin, which is extracted from the Chinese sweet wormwood plant. Chemical engineer Jay Keasling says pharmaceutical companies havenít developed a biotechnology process like theirs because there is no motivation.
Keasling: The reason that a university has teamed up with a small biotech company and a nonprofit pharmaceutical is that we can do the basic science without this motivation for a profit. We can do research in the interest of the public good.
Narrator: Keaslingís lab has developed a way to combine genes from three separate organisms to create a chemical factory to produce the drug at 1/10th the current cost.
Keasling: The impact of doing research in this particular area is that we could save one to two million lives every year if we can supply this drug inexpensively.
Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.