We have produced and supplied the pharmaceutical industry with high-quality, high-purity precursors for two decades. At Desert King we have developed scalable technologies to produce adjuvant precursors from Quillaja, due to its high content of triterpenoid saponins with immunostimulant capacity.

What is QS-21?

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Vaccine adjuvants based on Quillaja saponins, obtained from our precursor, can be found in dozens of commercial human and veterinary vaccines manufactured by the world’s largest laboratories. New applications that include oncology, infectious diseases and other pathologies are also being studied.

To satisfy our customers’ growing needs, we have made significant progress in R&D to enhance performance, guarantee supplies and comply with the high standards that this market demands. Thus, we have established a strong integrated supply chain that ensures a sustainable production of high purity extracts.

Advantages of adjuvants

Advantages of adjuvants formulated based on Quillaja saponins

It is a natural ingredient for vaccine formulation.
Lower antigen requirements.
Helps to boost weaker antigens.
It improves the duration and onset of the immune response.
It provides a more powerful and effective immune response for the prevention of various diseases.
They are compatible with other adjuvants.
Their surfactant properties make them ideal for the formulation of vaccines based on macromolecular complexes.

Quillaja saponins effectively stimulate the production of antibodies and also induce a strong activation of the cellular immune response, stimulating the production of cytotoxic T cells against exogenous antigens.

Sustainable sourcing

Sustainable sourcing of Quillaja raw material for the future and assured availability of innovative, validated and effective products.

Our commitment is to conserve native forest through our model of rational and sustainable forest management, which reduces the impact on it and revitalizes it, contributing to its adaptation to climate change.
We seek to improve control of the supply chain and work in partnership with all types of landowners.
We are aligned with laws on the promotion and recovery of native forests, and we want to contribute with techniques and development that help their recovery and protection.
Our biomass supply operation is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) certified.
We are pioneers in the development of Quillaja plantations with selected plants that have higher QS-21 content. (US Patent 11,254,699 B2)
The company develops and maintains lines of research focused on Quillaja’s requirements as a crop, making steady progress in the process of domesticating the species and its intimate relationship with the ecosystem. This reduces pressure on native forests.
We ensure immediate availability of innovative, validated, and effective Quillaja products, which allow high formulation flexibility and adapt to our customers’ diverse needs.

Adjuvant Precursors

Our company produces two ranges of Quillaja extracts that are adapted to the different needs of our customers

Extracts with high saponin concentration

Our extracts are used by customers as precursors for obtaining adjuvant formulations. They are currently present in commercial vaccines against Herpes Zoster (Shingles), Malaria and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the coronavirus disease in 2019 (Covid-19).

Adjuvant Precursor for Human Vaccines
Extensive clinical experience with QS-21 from various sources *

Extensive clinical experience with QS-21 from various sources *

  • 162 human clinical trials have been carried out, with over 230,000 participants. (Vaccine trials containing only QS-21 or combined with other adjuvants)
  • Present in more than 81 human vaccine candidates.
  • Study of 14, Phase 3 clinical trials for Malaria, Melanoma, NSCLC, and Shingles.
  • It is also studied in HIV, Tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Chickenpox Zoster and other cancer-type vaccine programs.
  • Combinable with other TLR agonists for form adjuvant systems.

* The QS-21 manufactured by Desert King Chile is currently offered as a non-GMP, preclinical material and has not been evaluated in clinical research.
Desert King Internacional (DKI) offers QS-21 GMP manufactured by a cotracted laboratory in the European Union.

QS-21 pre-clinical is available as a Desert King product:

QS-21 pre-clinical is available as a Desert King product:

  • A new QS-21 quality source.
  • Available directly and without license agreements.
  • Quantities of 5-500mg are in stock and ready to ship.
  • Discounts offered to researchers and academics.
QS-21 adjuvants offer formulation flexibility

QS-21 adjuvants offer formulation flexibility

  • Potent with small amounts of antigen.
  • Combinable with other adjuvants and in various formulations.
  • It offers dose-saving effect of vaccine antigen.
  • Effective parenteral or mucosal administration.
  • Favorable safety profile.
Boost your vaccine’s immune response with QS-21

Boost your vaccine’s immune response with QS-21

  • Adjuvant effects reported in the literature for more than 20 years.
  • Increases antigen-specific antibody and T cell responses.
  • Reduces antigen requirements for the formulation of vaccines.
  • Helps to potentiate weaker antigens.
  • It improves the duration and onset of the immune response.
  • Used in prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines.
Adjuvant Precursor for Animal Vaccines

  • VET-SAP® is a veterinary vaccine adjuvant precursor of a fraction of semi-purified saponin from the bark of the Quillaja saponaria Mol tree.
  • It is the precursor of the purest saponin adjuvant available on the market.
  • We can deliver the most consistent saponin purity and profile in each batch.
  • Rest assured that VET-SAP® is traceable from the forest to the production line and following responsible forestry practices.
  • Our integrated supply chain, from plantations to the final adjuvant precursor, eliminates the risk of future supply disruptions.


  • VET-SAP® is supplied as a white to beige powder with a moisture content of less than 8%.
  • The useful life of VAT-SAP® is 2 years at room temperature.
  • VET-SAP® is standardized on non-saponin impurities (polyphenols and polysaccharides) to maximize batch-to-batch consistency.

If you wish to learn more about QS-21 we invite you to watch the following Video.


We have developed technology over the last decade that allows us to produce specific saponin fractions with chromatographic methods, for direct use by customers in the formulation of adjuvants. The potential use of purified fractions of Quillaja extracts in vaccines against certain types of cancer, HIV, Tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s and Varicella Zoster is currently being studied.

Quillaja Saponin Fractions available for preclinical research:









Aslanipour,B. 2017. Cycloartane-type glycosides from Astragalus brachycalyx FISCHER and their effects on cytokine release and hemolysis. Phytochemistry Letters 21 (2017) 66-73.
Beck,Z. 2014. Detection of liposomal cholesterol and monophosphoryl lipid A by QS-21 saponin and Limulus polyphemus amebocyte lysate. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.
Ramakrishnan, A. 2019. Enhanced Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of a Campylobacter jejuni Conjugate Vaccine Coadministered with Liposomes Containing Monophosphoryl Lipid A and QS-21. American Society for microbiology.
Marty-Roix, R. 2015. Identification of QS-21 as an inflammasome-activating molecular component of saponin adjuvants. JBC Papers in Press
Alving,C. 2016. Liposomal vaccine adjuvant formulations. Academia Romana

Genito, C. 2017. Vaccine. Vaccine 35 3865-3874.
Noh et al. 2015. Programming of Influenza Vaccine Broadness and Persistence by Mucoadhesive Polymer-Based Adjuvant Systems
Hwee-Ing, N. 2016. Potent response of QS-21 as a vaccine adjuvant in the skin when delivered with the Nanopatch, resulted in adjuvant dose sparing. Scientific Reports
Cawlfield,A. 2019. Safety, toxicity and immunogenicity of a malaria vaccine based on the circumsporozoite protein (FMP013) with the adjuvant army liposome formulation containing QS21 (ALFQ) . Vaccine
Van Hoeven,N. 2018. A combination of TLR-4 agonist and saponin adjuvants increases antibody diversity and protective efficacy of a recombinant West Nile Virus antigen. NPJ Vaccines
Van den Sandt, C. 2014. Novel G3/DT adjuvant promotes the induction of protective T cells responses after vaccination with a seasonal trivalent inactivated split-virion influenza vaccine. Vaccine 32 (2014) 5614-5623

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