From carnivorous to vegetarian
Traditionally, collagenase is an enzyme produced when a bacterium called Clostridium histolyticum needs to decompose collagen, present in animal-source elements, to feed upon it.
By researching for the presence of a Clostridium histolyticum strain on Brazilian soil, Cristália scientists discovered and collected a slightly different strain at Espírito Santo do Pinhal, a city in the countryside of São Paulo state. They mimicked the presence of collagen in a vegetable culture medium, as if it was indeed present. So, they “misled” the bacteria, leading it to produce collagenase without any collagen present. This is how Cristália’s animal-free collagenase was developed.
Local technology & purity
The idea of producing something free of animal components comes from a number of issues. Most importantly, the development of a purer, more active animal component-free input, meaning that an animal-free collagenase could be employed for isolating stem cells and in Cell Therapy, which require high levels of purity, once these are foreign enzymes that come into contact with organic cells.
Additionally, as a result of this accomplishment, for the first time in history, Brazil has been able to export biotechnology, giving up for good the need to import collagenase.
For being an animal-free substance, the input has been approved for fast-track review, since regulatory authorities including ANVISA, FDA, and EMA value the use of technologies free of animal components, because they do not require a number of proofs and tests in highly complex, and therefore time-consuming procedures.