Clot-specific Streptokinase (CSSK), a drug that breaks down blood clots, developed by an arm of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been cleared by the office of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for phase two human clinical trials.
The CSSK is the first so-called biotherapeutic drug developed in India -- meaning it entailed the use of antibodies, proteins and enzymes, unlike conventional chemical drugs. If and when the drug reaches the market, it could offer an affordable alternative to expensive thrombolytic drugs used to treat patients of myocardial infarction or heart attacks, and other severe heart conditions like deep vein thrombosis.
Work on the Indian drug began seven years ago under a partnership between the CSIR's Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, and Nostrum Pharmaceuticals LLC of the US.
"Streptokinase has been modified by IMTECH through protein engineering and then made clot-specific, so that the basic risk of hemorrhage or bleeding, which is the problem with clot-busters in general, is much reduced," said Girish Sahni, director of IMTECH and inventor of the molecule.