Aphios Corporation Granted Chinese Patent for Isolation of Taxol from Yew Needles
May 23, 2000
Woburn, MA — May 23, 2000 — Aphios Corporation has been granted a Chinese Patent entitled "Method and Apparatus for Extracting Taxol from Source Material." The patent will be grated on June 10, 2000, and will be made available for licensing to Chinese pharmaceutical companies and/or multinational pharmaceutical companies interested in doing business in China.

Taxol® is the best-selling cancer drug in the history of our fight against cancer. It works by preventing cells from subdividing rapidly, a fundamental characteristic of all cancerous cells. This unique anti-mitotic (prevents mitosis or division of cells) works on a cellular and molecular level, and should have generic applicability to different cancers. The marketplace for Taxol® exceeds $2 billion, and is expected to increase with its approval for new cancer indications and clinical use for non-cancer related diseases.

Taxol® is primarily manufactured by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in a multi-step (9-step) semi-synthetic process from a precursor taxoid, 10-deacetyl baccatin III (10-DAB). 10-DAB is an intermediate, which is isolated and purified from yew species such as Taxus baccata in a second but primary multi-step process. Historically developed by the National Cancer Institute and Hauser Chemical Company, Taxol® was first isolated and manufactured from the bark of the slow-growing Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia.

Aphios isolates and manufactures an all-natural Taxol® in a 4-step process that is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The process also produces precursor taxoids, 10-DAB and cephalomannine which can be semi-synthetically converted to Taxol® in a 3-step process, as by-products. The process uses near-critical and supercritical fluids with or without polar cosolvents (SuperFluids™). These fluids are normally gases, which when compressed, exhibit enhanced thermodynamic properties. SuperFluids™ are used for the selective extraction and chromatographic purification (CXP) of taxoids from the bark, roots and renewable needles of the yew tree. The CXP process has proven to be rapid (isolation times between 40 minutes and 4 hours), efficient (yields of more than 90 %), cost-effective (as much as 75 % lower in costs than organic phase techniques), and environmentally friendly (eliminates use of toxic organic solvents and utilizes renewable leaves/needles).

Aphios Corporation is a privately held, research and development company developing therapeutics for health maintenance and the treatment of human diseases with a focus on CNS, cancer, and other infectious diseases.


Taxol® is a registered trademark of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company