Drugs of natural origin are an important part of the active substance portfolio produced by TAPI. Extracted from plant material, the isolated products either are used directly as APIs or serve as precursors for further partial synthesis. Our portfolio of natural products is very wide – ranging from standardized herbal extracts (e.g. Silymarin) through alkaloids (e.g. ergot alkaloids, Butorphanol, Buprenorphine and Galantamine) up to the most advanced products (e.g. Paclitaxel, Docetaxel and Irinotecan).
Key factors for the isolation of natural products are the availability and quality of the biomass, usually of herbal origin. We have our own cultivars or strains developed by long-term selection and breeding (such as the silybin cultivar of Silybum marianum, or the ergot strains that produce the required spectrum of alkaloids), and our own growth technologies. In other cases, TAPI experts cooperate with horticultural companies worldwide.
The principal technology for isolating natural products involves extraction of herbal material using batteries of percolators or continual carousel-type extractors, followed by further processing of the obtained primary extract. Process-scale chromatography is often used for the isolation of natural products; for example, the process for isolating natural paclitaxel involves four chromatographic steps.