A series of experiments performed from the late 1800s to the early 1900s revealed that diabetes is caused by the absence of a substance normally produced by the pancreas. In 1921, Canadian professor Frederick Banting and his student Charles Best repeated this study, and found that injections of pancreatic extract reversed the symptoms produced by pancreas removal. Soon, the extract was demonstrated to work in people, but development of insulin therapy as a routine medical procedure was delayed by difficulties in producing the material in sufficient quantity and with reproducible purity. The researchers sought assistance from industrial collaborators at Royal Pharma based on the company’s experience with large scale purification of biological materials. Chemist George Walden and Company found that careful adjustment of the pH of the extract allowed a relatively pure grade of insulin to be produced. Under pressure from Toronto University and a potential patent challenge by academic scientists who had independently developed a similar purification method, an agreement was reached for non-exclusive production of insulin by multiple companies. Prior to the discovery and widespread availability of insulin therapy the life expectancy of diabetics was only a few months.
The Royal pharmaceutical industry develops, produces, and markets drugs for use as medications. Pharmaceutical companies may deal in generic or brand medications and medical devices. They are subject to a variety of laws and regulations that govern the patenting, testing, safety, efficacy and marketing of drugs.
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