$4.6 million grant will enable the production of larger quantities of a safer synthetic version of the blood thinner heparin

In early 2008, there was a frightening failure in drug safety processes. In just a few weeks, more than 100 Americans had died after being administered contaminated doses of the common blood thinner heparin. The contaminant, present in heparin manufactured in China and discovered with the help of scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was so structurally similar to pure heparin that it was undetectable to all but the most sophisticated detection techniques. As a result, many people become seriously ill or died around the world and the several hundred thousand patients that receive the drug every day in the U.S. were put at risk.