Wolfgang Laux

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Sanofi Chimie
Laux, Wolfgang

Dr. Wolfgang Laux, Industrialization Coordinator for Major Products and New Chemical Entities with Sanofi Chimie since 2006. In this position, the mission is to evaluate, propose and coordinate the installation of industrial development plans allowing IA Chemistry & Biotechnologies group to meet requirements in active ingredients production. Head of the semi-synthetic Artemsinin project team since Feb 2012 with the objective to finish the industrialization and bring the new product to the market (validation and registration).

2000 to 2006: Project Manager in process development. PhD from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt (Germany) on enantioselective synthesis of Hydroxyphosphonates. Postdoctoral Fellow in Montpellier (France) and Stony Brook (SUNY) with a Feodor-Lynen Research Stipend of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation.

Thu July 11 | 4:30 - 6:00 | Plenary Session
ABSTRACT: The Semisynthetic Artemisinin Project

The realization of the semisynthetic artemisinin project is a success story for global teamwork between industry, academia and nonprofit-organizations and shows examplary how an innovation on labscale becomes an industrial reality contributing to global health. Global demand for artemisinin, the key ingredient of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), has increased since the World Health Organization identified ACTs as the most effective malaria treatment available. Because the existing botanical supply of artemisinin – derived from the sweet wormwood plant – is inconsistent, having multiple sources of high-quality artemisinin will strengthen the artemisinin supply chain, contribute to a more stable price, and ultimately ensure greater availability of treatment to people suffering from malaria. The development of a new commercial-scale alternative manufacturing process to produce a complementary source of artemisinin started nine years ago, led by OneWorld Health, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project built upon pioneering synthetic biology work done at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and involved a team of public and private partners, including Sanofi and the synthetic biology innovator, Amyris, Inc., to take the project from laboratory research to commercialization. This innovative industrial process to produce semisynthetic artemisinin consists in the production of artemisinic acid through fermentation – which is performed by Huvepharma, in Bulgaria – followed by a synthetic transformation of the artemisinic acid into artemisinin via photochemistry, which is performed by Sanofi in (Garessio, Italy). The realization of this project is a pivotal milestone in the fight against malaria, which affects about 300 million people every year and was responsible for more than 650,000 deaths in 2010.