Discovered at Berkeley

Eradicating malaria

Taking aim at the global health problem of malaria, which infects 250 million people worldwide every year and kills one child every 45 seconds in Africa alone, UC Berkeley researchers in the frontier field of synthetic biology re-engineered yeast to produce the antimalarial drug artemisinin. The development of this semi-synthetic compound through cutting-edge research and public-private collaboration ensures an affordable, reliable supply of artemisinin, and promises enormous spin-off potential in the production of other drugs, specialty chemicals and fuels.

Hepatitis vaccine

Building on his work at Berkeley, biochemistry professor Edward Penhoet co-founded Chiron in 1981 to develop diagnostic tools and biopharmaceuticals to tackle a range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, HIV, malaria, multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis. Best known for its work discovering the virus that causes hepatitis C and the subsequent development of screening methods to reduce the risk of contracting the virus via blood transfusion, the biotech powerhouse also developed the first vaccine for the hepatitis B virus. In 2006, pharmaceutical giant Novartis acquired Chiron for $5.4 billion.


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