Taxol From Sfe Extract by Countercurrent Chromatography

Period of Performance: 07/01/1993 - 03/31/1994


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Pharma-tech Research Corporation
Baltimore, MD 21212
Principal Investigator


The isolation of taxol is traditionally done using three organic solvent extraction steps and four chromatographic steps from the Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia. The limited supply of plant sources and low yields have stimulated searches for alternative technologies to meet the demand of this experimental cancer drug. We propose to improve the extraction and isolation of taxol by utilizing a combination of two technologies, supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) and centrifugal countercurrent chromatography (CCC). Both techniques can be scaled up to the processing plant level. Recent work indicates that SFE is an effective method for extracting taxol from Taxus bark and needles. The taxol-rich extract can be separated by CCC, a method based on the liquid-liquid partition principle and is milder than column or HPLC chromatographic separations. In phase I, optimal extraction and isolation conditions will be determined along with the procedures for scaling up the process. Further automation of the CCC apparatus will simplify the acquisition of data and improve method validation for analytical and preparative work.