Together against Cancer

New therapies on the rise

HPM World Cancer Day

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, some 19 million people worldwide developed cancer just in 2020. Current forecasts show that this number will continue to rise in the coming years. Heraeus Precious Metals has been manufacturing platinum-containing active pharmaceutical ingredients for cancer therapy in Hanau, near Frankfurt, for about 40 years.

The classic methods of treating cancer - surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy - are very effective, but remain limited in what they can do. For example, surgery and radiotherapy are only locally effective, and chemotherapy attacks healthy tissue as well as cancer cells.

Medical cancer research is therefore increasingly focusing on the development of therapies that act in a targeted manner against cancer cells because they target their specific molecular properties. These therapies are known as "Targeted Therapies". The drugs used here distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells based on specific characteristics. By preserving the healthy cells, side effects are reduced, and thus the therapies are also tolerated better.

Our contribution: long-established and new highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients for cancer therapy

Heraeus is the world's first address for platinum-based highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients ("hAPIs"). These ingredients are used in – inter alia - combination therapies, for example, against lung, colon, ovarian, and testicular cancer. They reduce the spread of cancer by inhibiting the division of cancer cells.

In addition, Heraeus' portfolio includes various highly active organic ingredients. Furthermore, for the past ten years, Heraeus as a CDMO has also offered the exclusive contractual development and manufacturing of new, promising molecules. "We work with our customers from the global pharmaceutical industry on the development of new molecules to fight cancer, for example, new payloads for antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs)" says Dr. Felix Held, responsible for New Business of active pharmaceutical ingredients at Heraeus.

Dr. Marcus Hannakam, Executive Vice President and Head of Pharmaceutical Ingredients at Heraeus Precious Metals adds: "These are investments in the future because it often takes more than ten years from the development to the approval and the availability of a molecule." The development and production of highly potent active ingredients are very demanding because they must have the highest purity.

Lasting, uncompromising top quality and the comprehensive service of the Heraeus team, coupled with many years of expertise, are key elements for successful active ingredients that benefit cancer patients.

"With the successful launch of an additional production line last year, we are well prepared for the globally increasing demand for platinum-containing active pharmaceutical ingredients," says Dr. Gabi Ohlendorf, Head of Marketing and Sales for active pharmaceutical ingredients at Heraeus.