Dear colleagues, friends, and supporters:
As we approach 2024, we want to take a moment to look back over an absolutely astounding year of progress for our business and give thanks to the many who made it possible.
Nearly a decade of hard work culminated in an industry-first achievement here at Antheia. In August, we announced our first successful commercial-scale fermentation run of our debut product, thebaine. For Antheia, it represented a moment in our history where an entirely new model for pharmaceutical supply chains was proven viable. This achievement also marked an industry inflection point, heralding a new frontier of scalable biomanufacturing of highly engineered microbial organisms with 25-30 complex, heterologous biosynthetic steps and more than 20 enzymes. Over this past decade, we’ve taken this scientific innovation from theory, to lab bench, to viable commercial production. With this year’s debut of our first products in a pipeline of 70+ key starting materials (KSMs) and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible in terms of using this platform to produce critical pharma ingredients for essential medicines. As early pioneers in this field and stewards of this proven and scaled technology, our determination to bring this biomanufacturing solution to the world has only grown with this year’s progress.
The need and urgency for this solution persists; this year the healthcare industry faced relentless shortages in critical drug classes, including central nervous system therapies, antimicrobials, fluids/electrolytes, hormones, and chemotherapies, while the pharmaceutical industry continued to struggle to resolve these shortages in a timely and effective manner. Over the past five years, we’ve seen the occurrence of new molecule shortages triple, with a striking 84% of the drugs in shortage being generics. Combined with the persistence of up to 50 new drug shortages annually and an average shortage duration of 1.5 years, pharma supply chains underpin a dire situation in healthcare that demands immediate attention and comprehensive resolution.
Fortunately, we see a brighter future. Our estimates show that more than 50% of the drugs on the U.S. FDA Essential Medicines list can be made via biomanufacturing technology. With this reality now within reach more than ever before, the U.S. – and more broadly, the world – is quickly realizing the potential of synthetic biology as an advanced, and much-needed manufacturing solution. Just this year, we were proud to contribute to The National Action Plan for U.S. Leadership in Biotechnology. The plan outlines a series of policy recommendations with the end goal being an “agile, rapidly-scalable, distributed biomanufacturing base that efficiently produces the majority of essential medicines and makes affordable medicines available to everyone who needs them.” As further legislative efforts have – and continue to – emerge, we are encouraged to see the industry and the U.S. government moving in the same direction, toward the same shared goal: to capture the full potential of synthetic biology and unlock solutions that will materially improve the availability and supply chains of essential medicines.
As we approach 2024 and this next chapter of our business, we want to take a moment to recognize what truly makes Antheia so great. It isn’t just the continued scientific innovation or our operational development that makes 2023 such an impressive year of transformation, but the phenomenal team of people behind it. We believe in a world where patient care and health equity are never jeopardized by global pharma supply chain vulnerabilities, and our growth would not have been possible without the exceptional colleagues that are dedicated to this mission each and every day.
Our wins this year, and our success next year and beyond, are thanks to our team and our many supporters – we look forward to another big year as we advance our commercial strategy in 2024.
Christina Smolke, PhD | CEO and Co-Founder
Kristy Hawkins, PhD | CSO and Co-Founder