Zagaya was founded in 2011 in an effort to ensure technology developed by its partner-organization, Amyris, has the biggest possible impact on making artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) more affordable and accessible. Since that time, Zagaya’s mission has developed and grown, though our core aim to use technology and science-based solutions to help eradicate malaria has not wavered.
Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Amyris, Inc., developed a new approach to create artemisinin using synthetic biology as part of the Artemisinin Enterprise (AE). The AE was a funding approach by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that supported three complementary scientific projects aimed at improving artemisinin production technologies and reducing the price of ACTs. The key players in the AE were University of California, Berkeley; Sanofi-Aventis; OneWorld Health (now PATH); and Amyris. These groups would accomplish this goal by:
- Diversifying sources of high quality artemisinin
- Stabilizing supplies & preventing cyclical fluctuations in artemisinin availability
- Lowering the cost of artemisinin production
The projects collaborated to ensure maximum impact on ACT supply chains and that the new technologies would not enter substandard drug or monotherapy supply chains. The objective of these efforts were to supplement the plant-derived artemisinin derivatives with a non-seasonal supply that could also be rapidly available to a sudden change in demand. See the following websites for an update on the plant breeding program (CNAP) and the peroxide compounds.
Today, Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturing partner on the Artemisinin project, sells artemisinin made from the production system developed by UC Berkeley and Amyris. See the video below for a description of the final production process.
After Amyris developed the technology to create artemisinin semi-synthetically, it moved on to create other products with similar yeast-based technologies. The Amyris owners, however, recognized there was still a need for continued efforts to support the introduction of semi-synthetic artemisinin (ss-ART) into the supply chain. As such, Zagaya was founded to take up the challenge of promoting ss-ART production and its integration into the supply chain in order to have a real impact on the affordability and availability of quality ACTs.
Although Zagaya was created by founders of Amyris, most of whom have now moved on to other ventures, Zagaya is a separate, non-related non-profit entity, with 501 (c)(3) non-profit status.