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Streptokinase -A life saviour drug that brings life back in a person who has suffered a heart attack! The ingenuity of this drug popularly known as ‘streptokinase’, lies in simply dissolving the blood clots that hinder the flow of blood through the blood vessels. Such blockages occurring in major arteries, like coronary artery that nourishes the heart by supplying blood to it, is a common cause of death. But with timely administration of streptokinase, the life force is regained as soon as the blood clots dissolve.
This wonder drug is actually an enzyme secreted by several species of streptococci bacteria, having the unique ability to bind and activate human plasminogen. The latter is soon converted in to ‘plasmin’ which then degrades the fibrin clots. Streptokinase, being an effective and cheaper drug in comparison to the other clot dissolving proteins, has a good demand in developing nations. Several studies have established that on a clinical level, streptokinase is equally effective in saving lives when compared to Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA), which is about ten-fold higher priced.
CSIR-IMTECH has earned the unique distinction of producing streptokinase from a hyperproducer strain, Streptococcus equisimilis, developed indigenously. The product, being already in the world markets since 1970s, is now out-of-patent protection. Manufactured in India by Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd., the CSIR process utilizes the natural bacterial host and a highly optimized downstream process for purification that yields injectable streptokinase at very high purity and process yield as high as 60%. The process developed by CSIR is extremely competitive in terms of both quality and cost. The drug is being marketed as ‘STPase’.
Subsequent to the introduction of natural streptokinase in the market in 2002, the CSIR-IMTECH team developed a process to manufacture its recombinant version which is ten times more efficient than the production of the natural counterpart. This resulted in dramatically further lowering the price of the life-saver clot-buster drug for the Indian consumer. The process of producing recombinant streptokinase yields about 70% of highly purified (>98% purified) product. The technological package to obtain high drug-quality product was licenced to M/s Shasun Chemicals & Drugs Ltd., Chennai, in 2003. The product was launched for the Indian market in 2009 under different brand names, with a significant reduction in price thus making this vital life-saver drug available to the most economically challenged consumer of our country.
( The write-up is a feature from Unit of Science Dissemination , CSIR)