On 18 February 2009, NSTDA, Chulalongkorn University (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Artemisinin & Farming International Co., Ltd (AFI) announced a technology licensing agreement for AFI to acquire the international rights to use the unique artemisinin content protocol developed by Chulalongkorn University with NSTDA’s fund.
Under the terms of the agreement, AFI receives exclusive rights for the world-wide direct use of the artemisinin content protocol for three years, while NSTDA and Chulalongkorn University keep licensing rights for the Thai domestic market, and will assume responsibility for completing the future development of this new analytical technology.
The protocol of this so-called “Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC) - Densitometric Analysis of Artemisinin” consists of two main steps. First, artemisinin present in the crude extracts of Artemisia annua leaves is separated from other leaf components on a silica gel TLC plate by a normal thin layer chromatography. Second, the spot of artemisinin on the TLC plate is exposed with NH3 vapor to rearrange its structure to a compound of artemisinin derivative, 10-azadesoxyartemisinin, which can be either observed directly in a light box or determined its content by using a more sophisticated TLC scanner.
According to the World Health Organization, the Artemisia annua bio-mass needed in the coming years to produce the necessary Artemisinin based Combination Therapies will reach circa 35,000 metric tons, at today's farming conditions. The use of the NSTDA - Chulalongkorn University content analysis protocol permits an easy measurement of the active principle in the leaves and consequently an effective control of the plant maturation during its life cycle. The analysis protocol also allows a rapid benchmarking between several farming parameters, a strategic factor for seeds selection, soil preparation and water-stressing of the plants.
Posted on 20 February 2009.