Helvezia AG – Herb as a remedy
The invisible power of nature: Successful innovations in phytopharmaceutical development for safe and effective medicines, by Dr. Rainer Schreiber in conversation with Ridvan Abey, CEO of Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG, Switzerland.
The demand for safe and effective medicines is constantly increasing worldwide, and as a result of this development, phytopharmaceutical development is becoming increasingly important. Innovative research directions combine the power of nature with modern technologies to develop medicines. Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), i.e. the active ingredients in medications, play a crucial role.
Ridvan Abey, CEO of Switzerland’s Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG, explains that the history of herbal medicine makes it clear that ancient traditions and modern innovations can work hand in hand to transform the medical landscape. From its hunter-gatherer origins to the current EU strategy, the use of plant ingredients is a fascinating chapter in the development of medicine.
Herbal active ingredients in medicine: Old traditions, new horizons
“Herbal active ingredients have been known as medicinal products for centuries and are now finding new areas of application in medicine thanks to modern technologies and innovative extraction processes,” says Ridvan Abey. Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG wants to specialize in the production of high-quality phytopharmaceutical active ingredients, which are used in products by cosmetic manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, as well as research and development. Based on the EU pharmaceutical strategy, which relies on digitalization, benefit assessment and solutions to combat supply bottlenecks. Europe is striving to adapt social law control elements in order to stimulate production and research.
Nature as a medicine cabinet
The use of plant active ingredients has a rich tradition in the history of medicine. As early as the Neolithic period, hunters and gatherers used plants such as the birch porling for healing. References to medicinal uses and the cultivation of medicinal plants can be found in ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese writings.
A milestone is the “Ebers Papyrus”, written in ancient Egypt in the 16th century BC. This document stretches almost 19 meters and contains detailed descriptions of diseases and healing methods. In the Middle Ages, medicinal plants were systematically recorded in European monasteries and cultivated in monastery complexes.
However, over time, modern medicine displaced the knowledge of herbal remedies as chemically produced medicines became more dominant. Ridvan Abey points out that it was only at the end of the 19th century that the Swiss priest Johann Künzle and the German pastor Sebastian Kneipp regained importance with their pleas for herbal remedies.
Use of herbal active ingredients
Many of our modern medicines are based on natural substances that can be found in various plant species. Safe and effective medications can be developed through targeted extraction and processing of these active ingredients. Helvezia AG focuses on exclusively supplying the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries with high-quality active ingredients (APIs). Ridvan Abey adds: “Initially, the GMP-compliant extraction of plant-based ingredients and their processing into active ingredients and pure ingredients are planned. Phytopharmaceutical development combines traditional knowledge of nature’s healing power with modern technologies to achieve optimal results.”
Identify and isolate APIs
An important step in phytopharmaceutical development is the identification and isolation of APIs. Specific tests are carried out to identify the active components of a plant and separate them from other ingredients. Ridvan Abey explains that this process requires precise knowledge of the plants and their active ingredients as well as specialized techniques for extraction and purification, which is why Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG places particular focus on research and development. Thanks to the use of modern instruments and analysis methods, the APIs can be obtained in their pure form.
Characterization of the APIs
After the APIs have been isolated, their characterization follows. Their chemical properties, pharmacological properties and potential for medical use are examined. This information is crucial for developing drugs with the desired effects and minimal side effects. Through targeted research and laboratory work, APIs are further analyzed and optimized to maximize their effectiveness and safety.
Optimizing API delivery
Another important aspect of phytopharmaceutical development is optimizing the delivery of APIs. This includes the development of suitable formulations to improve the absorption and availability of the active ingredients in the body. This may include the use of excipients or the use of special technologies for the controlled release of the APIs. A tailored formulation helps maximize the effectiveness of the medication while minimizing unwanted effects.
Successes in phytopharmaceutical development
Phytopharmaceutical development has already led to many successful innovations. Examples include drugs used to treat cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory diseases. In addition to their effectiveness, these drugs also offer advantages such as lower toxicity compared to chemical agents and improved patient tolerability.
Strong partners as a multidisciplinary network of Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG
In summary, phytopharmaceutical development is a promising and innovative research direction. The company Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG is currently being set up and has a multidisciplinary network and partners with many years of experience in the pharmaceutical and regulated industries. The aim is to develop safe and effective medicines by combining traditional herbal remedies with modern technologies. “We rely on specific cultivation methods and extraction systems to obtain natural ingredients in their purest form. We process herbal products using efficient manufacturing processes, which minimizes the environmental impact caused by complex synthesis routes, the use of solvents, chemicals and equipment,” explains Ridvan Abey, pointing out that the role of APIs in this process is crucial as they are the active ones Represent components in the medication. Targeted identification, isolation, characterization and optimization of APIs are crucial in developing drugs with maximum effectiveness and minimal side effects. Phytopharmaceutical developments have led to successful innovations and promise exciting developments in the medicine of the future.
Frequently asked questions about herbal active ingredients in medicine:
What are the advantages of using herbal active ingredients in medicine?
The use of herbal active ingredients in medicine offers many advantages. On the one hand, many modern medicines are based on natural substances that can be found in various plant species. These substances can be specifically extracted and processed to develop safe and effective drugs. Compared to chemical agents, herbal agents often have lower toxicity and improved tolerability, making them safer for patients. In addition, herbal active ingredients can also have a wider range of therapeutic effects and can therefore be used in a variety of ways in the treatment of various diseases.
How are the active components of a plant identified in phytopharmaceutical development?
Identifying the active components of a plant in phytopharmaceutical development requires targeted investigations. Various technical methods are used to analyze the plants and their active ingredients. For example, specialized extraction techniques, chromatographic methods and mass spectrometry are used. These analysis methods can be used to identify the active ingredients and separate them from other ingredients. A precise understanding of the plant and its active ingredients is crucial in order to specifically isolate the desired active components.
How are the APIs optimized in phytopharmaceutical development?
Optimizing APIs in phytopharmaceutical development involves various steps. After APIs are isolated and characterized, targeted research and laboratory work is conducted to maximize their effectiveness and safety. This includes, for example, the study and optimization of their chemical properties, pharmacological properties and their potential for medical use. In addition, suitable formulations are being developed to improve the absorption and availability of the active ingredients in the body. The use of excipients or special technologies for the controlled release of the APIs can be used. A tailored formulation helps maximize the effectiveness of the medication while minimizing unwanted effects.
Dr. Rainer Schreiber
Lecturer, adult education & personnel consultant
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG is a family-run company based in Steinhausen, Switzerland. It specializes in the EU-GMP-compliant production, research and trading of natural active ingredients and focuses on the exclusive supply of high-quality active ingredients (APIs) to the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry.
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG
+41 41 749 97 05