Synthetic biology delivers combination therapies into an uncertain market. “It’s been a dream project — but it’s been a long dream,” says Jay Keasling, a biochemical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley. Seven years ago, he and his team genetically engineered yeast to produce artemisinic acid (D.-K. Ro et al. Nature 440, 940–943; 2006), a precursor to the best malaria treatments available: artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Synthetic biology, Keasling hoped, could produce the drug more cheaply and reliably than natural sources, benefiting the roughly 200 million people infected with malaria each year.
Click "source" to read more.