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Bioproduction of Biliverdin IX-alpha

The bile pigment biliverdin-IX (BVIXa) alpha has many potential clinical applications as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant therapeutic. Surgical cardiac procedures, for example, can benefit from quicker recovery and lower tissue and organ rejection rates with biliverdin administration. With more than one-million heart transplant patients world-wide every year the potential market for biliverdin is in the multi-million dollars for heart surgeries alone. Currently, biliverdin is derived by processing the bile of mammals, especially swine. The supply is limited and used primarily in research and diagnostics. At Utah State University researchers have developed a synthetic biological approach to produce biliverdin. Their technique of genetic manipulation of bacteria to produce enhanced levels of BVIXa that is easily extracted and recovered and uses no animal-derived components, reducing the risk of contaminants and optimizing the economic incentives of synthetic production.
Features and Benefits
Treatment of :
  • Vascular inflammation (arteries, capillary)
  • Heart surgery
  • Transplant surgery
  • Graft rejection
  • Prevention of bypass graft failure(intimal hyperplasia) induced by vascular injury
  • Ischemia/reperfusion injuries from transplantation
  • Severe sepsis injuries from liver grafts
  • Use of synthetic biology eliminates the risk of contamination from animal-derived components
  • Easy recovery and extraction from bacterial cells results in potential for large scale production and reduced unit cost
  • Can be grown in large, commercial fermentors already widely used, minimizing the implementation cost
BVIXa acts as a cytoprotective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent against cell damaging Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) when administered at tissue injury/inflammatory sites where ROS are prevalent, such as surgical sites. Numerous studies have shown that biliverdin benefits ischemia-reperfusion injury and organ transplantation, including chronic rejection, and islet transplantation and suggests BVIXa as a novel therapeutic approach to maximize the function and availability of donor organs. This novel technology uses E. coli in fermentors to eliminate the possibility of contaminants from animal-derived components and optimize the production of BVIXa.
Development Stage
USU research team succeeded in coaxing E. coli to produce BVIXa using synthetic biology approaches. The team has taken its culture production from small scale to pilot fermentation scale, and the purified material is now entering animal testing.
Patent Pending
Berry Treat
Senior Commercialization Associate
Life Sciences
(435) 797-4569
Reference: W09069