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30_Amyris

30_Amyris
A microscopic look at yeast (colored in blue) producing and excreting BioFene (colored in gold), the pre-cursor to renewable diesel and chemicals. Yeast tri-tone Image by: Amyris

California-based Amyris has made headlines for producing renewable synthetic fuel, but few know about the company’s health-care vision: saving the lives of malaria patients. A drug called artemisinin kills the malarial parasite but is often in short supply because it has to be obtained from a rare plant. In 2010, Amyris and its partners completed development of a microbially produced version of artemisinin that can be made in virtually unlimited amounts; patients could begin receiving the drug in 2012.

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