We define as herbal medicines the drug products of plant origin elaborated with standardized extracts. An herbal medicine is elaborated through a complex chemical process, aiming to concentrate active principles of the plant in one extract. Chemical standardization assures the level of active principles to obtain a pharmacological activity.
It is important to highlight the extract standardization requires cutting-edge analytical technology. The process must assure each pill or capsule contains the same chemical profile, the same level of active principles. Therefore, it is possible to assure the phytomedicine conforms to the same 3 criteria featuring a synthetic drug product: efficiency, quality and safety: essential criteria to obtain the registration with the competent regulatory body (ANVISA, FDA, EMEA).
The goal of one of Aché’s main innovation platforms, Bioprospera®, is to discover and develop innovative medicines from natural sources, especially from Brazil’s biodiversity, which is the largest and most diverse in the world. Brazil has about 22% of the planet’s plant biodiversity, and extensive ethnobotanical knowledge. The platform adopts two approaches for discovering active natural molecules and extracts: (i) ethnopharmacology, and (ii) bioprospecting. Using scientific rigor, the former reveals the pharmacological and toxicological effects of medicinal plants using systematic bioanalytical techniques. The latter, bioprospecting, begins with expeditions and collecting samples from different biomes. On the bioprospecting front Aché works in partnership with Phytobios and the research institute CNPEM (Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials), which has a library of natural products from Brazil’s biodiversity and state-of-the-art analytical instruments, like Sirius, the biggest and most complex scientific equipment in Brazil, which is a 4th generation particle accelerator. The primary objective of the two projects, in which Aché is partnered with Phytobios and CNPEM, is to discover and develop new medication for use in oncology and dermatology.