Unleashing the medicinal power of plants

For thousands of years, humans have relied on the medicinal properties of plants to cure, treat, and prevent diseases. Today, most of our medicines still come from nature. However, cultivating plant crops for drugs is a slow, inefficient and risk-laden process, dependent on the whims of climate, skills of farmers, and a seasonal supply chain.

Because entire plants must be grown just to extract one or two molecules, our current system wastes enormous natural resources and reduces biodiversity though overharvesting. It also creates inequitable distribution models; i.e., costly drugs only go to people and countries that can afford them.

This isn’t good medicine for people or our planet.

Our approach

At Antheia, we’re taking a new approach to creating both existing and new medicines. Our novel approach to bioengineering reconstructs plant-inspired molecules in yeast to achieve the complexity and diversity found in nature.

Whole Cell Engineering (WCE)

Yeast can be engineered to perform biosynthetic pathways, converting sugars and amino acids into more complex molecules. But the complexity of those molecules is constrained by existing synthetic biology methods. A new approach – whole-cell engineering – is needed to replicate in a single-cell organism the activities and compounds that are produced in nature through interactions involving multiple organelles, cells, and tissues.

Old Way

Medicines take over a year to grow, harvest, process, and produce

Antheia's Way

Medicines are "brewed" on demand in a matter of days

We look to plants as our teachers and work with them to unleash their medicinal power. By partnering our technology platform with Mother Nature, we will unlock her full healing potential and make her better.

Our Products

Antheia's pipeline includes essential medicines to treat:



Opioid addiction


Our development pipeline includes medicines to treat:


Neurological disesases

Cardiovascular diseases

Infectious diseases


Srinivasan P, Smolke CD. 2020. Biosynthesis of medicinal tropane alkaloids in yeast. Nature (accepted)

Valentic T, Payne J, Smolke CD. 2020. Structure determination and engineering of a scoulerine 9-O-methyltransferase enables biosynthesis of novel alkaloids in yeast. ACS Catalysis. 10: 4497-509.

Srinivasan P, Smolke CD. 2019. Engineering a microbial biosynthesis platform for de novo production of tropane alkaloids. Nat. Comm. 10: 3634.

Kopotka B, Smolke CD. 2019. Production of the cyanogenic glycoside dhurrin in yeast. Met. Eng. Comm. 9: e00092.

Li Y, Li S, Thodey K, Trenchard IJ, Cravens A, Smolke CD. 2018. Complete biosynthesis of noscapine and halogenated alkaloids in yeast. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 115: E3922-31.

McKeague M, Wang YH, Cravens A, Win MN, Smolke CD. 2016. Engineering a microbial platform for de novo biosynthesis of diverse methylxanthines. Metab. Eng. 38: 191-203.

Li Y, Smolke CD. 2016. Engineering biosynthesis of the anticancer alkaloid noscapine in yeast. Nat. Comm. 7: 12137.

Galanie S, Smolke CD. 2015. Optimization of yeast-based production of medicinal protoberberine alkaloids. Microb. Cell Fac. 14: 144.

Galanie S, Thodey K, Trenchard IJ, Interrante MF, Smolke CD. 2015. Complete biosynthesis of opioids in yeast. Science. 349: 1095-100.

Trenchard IJ, Siddiqui MS, Thodey K, Smolke CD. 2015. De novo production of the key branchpoint benzylisoquinoline alkaloid reticuline in yeast. Metab. Eng. 31: 74-83.

Trenchard IJ, Smolke CD. 2015. Engineering strategies for the fermentative production of plant alkaloids in yeast. Metab. Eng. 30: 96-104.

Thodey K, Galanie S, Smolke CD. 2014. A microbial biomanufacturing platform for natural and semi-synthetic opioids. Nat. Chem. Biol. 10: 837-44.

Hawkins KM, Smolke CD. 2008. Cover article: Production of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nat. Chem. Biol. 4: 564-73.