Our mission is to make and fairly provide medicines to all who need them

Stanford News, 08-13-15

Stanford researchers genetically engineer yeast to produce opioids

It typically takes a year to produce hydrocodone from plants, but Christina Smolke and colleagues have genetically modified yeast to make it in just a few days. The technique could improve access to medicines in impoverished nations, and later be used to develop treatments for other diseases.



Science Online, 08-13-15

Antheia co-founders publish first description of yeast able to produce medicinal opioids

Farming opium poppies remains the sole source of opiods despite diverse market demands and uncertainty in crop yields. Here, Antheia co-founders engineered yeast to produce the selected opioid compounds thebaine and hydrocodone starting from sugar.

about antheia

Antheia combines founding intellectual property with world-leading expertise in synthetic biology, informatics, and fermentation technology to provide a stable and cost-competitive supply of plant-based medicines and to transform the discovery, manufacture, and distribution of medicines.

We are based in Palo Alto, California.


Antheia brings together engineers and scientists with
world-leading expertise in Synthetic Biology

Kristy Hawkins


Dr. Hawkins has over seven years of industrial experience in synthetic biology as a Scientist at Amyris Biotechnologies and Director of yeast engineering at Lygos, Inc., where she led activities associated with metabolic engineering, high-throughput strain engineering, fermentation technology and scale up, and automation and screening. Earlier in her career, Dr. Hawkins conducted the pioneering work in engineering yeast to synthesize benzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Dr. Hawkins graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University and conducted her PhD training at the California Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Christina Smolke

Co-Founder, CEO & President

Dr. Smolke heads a world-leading research program in the areas of synthetic biology, yeast metabolic engineering, and biomolecular engineering. She has pioneered the development of yeast biosynthesis platforms for an important class of plant natural products - the benzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Her innovative vision and research have been recognized with numerous awards, including the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, WTN Award in Biotechnology, and TR35 Award. Dr. Smolke is an Associate Professor, Associate Chair of Education, and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar in the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. Dr. Smolke is currently on leave from her position at Stanford University to lead Antheia.

kate Thodey


Dr. Thodey is Antheia's biosafety officer, and works closely with the DEA to ensure regulatory compliance for all our processes. Dr. Thodey brings expertise in technology development for engineering yeast to biosynthesize complex plant natural products, including medicinal opioids. She developed a genetic toolkit for improving pathway activities and specificities and streamlined processes for rapid pathway assembly strategies in yeast. Dr. Thodey graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences from Auckland University. Dr. Thodey's interest in plant natural products and their critical role in human health began during her PhD training in Plant Molecular Biology at the John Innes Centre and continued during her postdoctoral training as a New Zealand Science and Technology Fellow in the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University.

Isis Trenchard


Dr. Trenchard brings expertise in technology development for engineering yeast to functionally express complex plant enzymes. Prior to joining Antheia, Dr. Trenchard led the development of yeast platform strains for the production of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids from sugar. Dr. Trenchard graduated with a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. As a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow and ARCS Foundation Fellow, Dr. Trenchard conducted her PhD and postdoctoral training in the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University.

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