Indian scientists have developed a new generation SOS clotbuster, which could save millions of lives every year in the country from heart attacks by dissolving blood clots.
The SOS clotbuster is a new molecule of the natural protein Streptokinase designed by researchers at the state-run Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh.
The new molecule is so designed that it does not get activated in the blood stream unless it hits the blood clot, says IMTECH Director Girish Sahni.
The two clotbusters currently available are either expensive or has side-effects. One of them, called Tissue Plasmogen Activator, costs Rs 50,000 per shot while the other, Streptokinase, suffers from side-effects like bleeding.
The research into the new Streptokinase molecule began at IMTECH in 1995. Ten scientists were involved in the research that led to patenting of the new molecule five years later.
The new clotbuster will be available in medical stores in three years, says Nirmal Mulye, President of the US-based Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, which on Thursday signed an agreement with IMTECH to conduct clinical trials and commercial production.
"The development of the new clotbuster is not just about making a world standard medicine but going beyond and becoming an international leader," says Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.
Under the public-private partnership for commercial production, IMTECH, a laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will gain 5 million dollars and royalty from Nostrum.
"The challenge before our scientists was to make a Streptokinase molecule that was smarter than the one available in the market," says CSIR Director-General R A Mashelkar.
The clinical trials of the new molecule, which has proved its efficacy in the wheat crop, will be held in India.