Botanicals in pharma: Potential and pitfalls

pharmaphorum podcast episode 92

The history of medicine begins with the use of medicinal plants and herbs to treat ailments. But the modern history of pharmaceuticals has mostly been concerned with extracted and synthetic chemicals. Since botanical drugs were introduced as a category by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency nearly 20 years ago, only four have been approved. Is the healthcare world missing out on a powerful genre of therapies?

In today’s podcast, Saad Harti, founder and CEO of Legacy Healthcare, joins editor-in-chief Jonah Comstock to discuss this exciting, old-yet-new category.

They discuss the history of botanicals in pharma and some of the unique challenges that come with using whole plants for their therapeutic value, including their inherent variability. They discuss why recent changes to regulation have helped companies to overcome these challenges, and also why many companies are still deprioritising this category, especially with new modalities competing for development resources.

Finally, Harti discusses his own company’s drug, for alopecia, as an example of the potential power of botanicals in life sciences.

You can listen to episode 92 of the pharmaphorum podcast in the player below, download the episode to your computer, or find it – and subscribe to the rest of the series in iTunes, Spotify, acast, Stitcher, and Podbean.