(Photo: Olivier Asselin/Reuters)

(Photo: Olivier Asselin/Reuters)

By Oren Oppenheim, Rocky Baier - July 17, 2018

A pharmaceutical company has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to market their new drug under a name derived from the Torah.

In a press release, Steba Biotech claimed that this is the first time the FDA has approved a name for a drug based on “its biblical context” and not on its active ingredients.

The drug, Tookad, treats prostate cancer as part of a laser-based treatment meant to be minimally invasive. It has received various forms of approval in Israel, Mexico and over 30 European countries. Its name comes from Leviticus 6:6, which says: “A perpetual fire shall be kept burning (tookad) on the altar, not to go out” (JPS 1985 translation).

Steba Biotech, based in Luxembourg, has facilities in Israel, including a research center. Some of the technology used in the Tookad treatment was licensed from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot.

Fabrice Harari, chairman and CEO of Steba Biotech, told The Jerusalem Post by phone that “it feels holy” to use a biblical name, which was given at the beginning of the research phase for the drug.

Tookad in the Torah is “the eternal fire that comes in the [Holy] Temple to burn the sacrifice,” he said, which was related to the original concept of the drug, “a drug that would bring some sort of energy to destroy the [cancerous] tumor.”

Read More: The Jerusalem Post