Just add water. That’s the appeal of a new freeze-dry method that turns DNA and other molecules into small reaction pellets needed to make a wide range of pharmaceuticals. With freeze-dried molecular machinery portable enough to tote around in a suitcase, it could be possible to make drugs in remote places like developing countries, military outposts, and even outer space.
In a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell, investigators from Harvard and MIT show that this technique can be used to manufacture antimicrobial compounds, vaccines, and antibodies that are just as effective as traditionally made drugs.
Drug manufacturers have been freeze-drying some vaccines and other compounds for decades to preserve their biological properties so they can be transported to regions where reliable power for refrigeration is hard to come by. What’s different about this method is that researchers have figured out a way to freeze-dry the individual molecular components instead of freeze-drying the whole drug or compound. And since it costs just $0.03 per microliter, the approach could be cheaper than previous techniques by a factor of 10….
Source: MIT Tech Review