The brouhaha over heparin has cast a spotlight on the use of animal products in therapies. It also underscores new development activities aimed at coming up with synthetic versions of drugs that will circumvent the need to source materials from animals. Altus Pharmaceuticals, for example, is developing an alternative to heparin with the help of financing from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
When tainted heparin was first linked to the deaths of patients, investigators quickly focused on the role that an active ingredient extracted from pig intestines may have played. Most of those ingredients are now sourced in China and would be threatened by any serious viral outbreak in those animals.
- read the article in the New York Times