Barking up the right tree | Breakthrough Funding

Friday, July 1, 2016

Barking up the right tree

PHARMA - The story of collecting molecules from yew trees to make cancer drugs.

The problem

The Pacific Yew tree has molecules in its bark that can inhibit the replication of cancer cells, with consequent drug production increasing some cancer rate survival by 15%. But this particular tree is slow growing, their range restricted to the west coast of North America and the yield is very low. The English Yew is a pretty good substitute, but the trees have to be young and the only time of year the molecule is present in sufficient quantities is a ten-week window in the summer. There are many other barriers to making the harvesting of these molecules economically viable, let alone the problems involved in drying and storage.

The solution

This company has developed a fast and safe method of processing the harvested yew cuttings. They have maximised potential of the 10-DAB-III yield and quality, while minimising molecule degradation.

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