Heparin as a new strategy to fight malaria?

The Catalan Institute of Bioengineering, the Barcelona Institute of Global Health and Bioibérica have joined forces to study the development of new compounds derived from heparin to fight malaria, a disease that infects 200 million people each year and causes half a million deaths. 

Esther Koplowitz Centre for Biomedical Research (Barcelona, Spain) 

Dr. Xavier Fernández Busquets, head of the Joint Nanomalaria Unit of IBEC and ISGlobal

Heparin is a very interesting compound for the treatment of malaria. In fact, 40 or 50 years ago it was already being described as an antimalaria compound. However, because of its high anticoagulant activity it was never developed to fight malaria.

Bioiberica main Production Site (Palafolls, Barcelona- Spain)

Carlos Raúl Aláez, head of R&D Heparina Bioibérica

ISGlobal and IBEC contacted us because they wanted to test a series of herapin derivatives as antimalarials. They wanted to develop them, and what we're doing is modifying the molecule's structure using chemical reactions to eliminate it anticoagulant activity while preserving the antimalarial activity.

Dr. Xavier Fernández Busquets, head of the Joint Nanomalaria Unit of IBEC and ISGlobal

Bioiberica has provided us with a range of compounds, 19 in all thus far, with slightly modified forms of heparin. Then what we basically do is test in vitro their antimalarial activity and their anticoagulant activity. Once we have characterised in vitro a compound that seems suitable our plan is to move on to in vivo tests on malaria infected mice.

Jordi Clemente- Business Development Heparina Bioibérica
Bioiberica develops tailored solutions and projects relating to heparin

The contract manufacturing services we offer our partners and other companies range from laboratory and pilot level production to industrial scaling, contract production, process and product optimisation and validation and, crucially, also new API manufacturing.

Carlos Raúl Aláez, head of R&D Heparina Bioibérica

Bioibérica accounts for 1 out of every 5 doses administered in the world

We can do this because we have been working with heparin for many years, meaning that we have a wealth of experience with the molecule, its structure, we know how to modify it. Moreover, we have a great team and latest generation equipment so we are in a position to take on this sort of project.

Dr. Xavier Fernández Busquets, head of the Joint Nanomalaria Unit of IBEC and ISGlobal

Ideally we will find a product which, in a relatively short time scale, can be used in endemic malaria regions.

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The use of heparin in pregnancy is increasingly common to avoid thromboembolic complications, abortions or delays in fetal growth. In this story, Monica tells us how thanks to heparin, she was able to bring her third pregnancy to term.

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  • 19 October 2017

Since its foundation in 1975, Bioiberica has been focused on the production of heparin. The company understood that it was an active ingredient indispensable for human health and that it was important to be able to offer the maximum guarantees of safety and traceability. Today, one out of every five heparin doses administered worldwide has been developed and manufactured by Bioibérica.