ROBOX makes storable CYPs
Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs) are valuable enzymes for the production of drug metabolites and high-priced fine chemicals. Although such enzymes are already established on the market, they gave the industry a bad headache: For decades, CYPs have suffered from low stability. Even if the best P450s available get ordered, they may arrive inactive. To offer the industry robust CYPs for screening and upscaling, the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) might have found a solution: Within the EU project ROBOX, acib, together with their partners, created lyophilised biocatalysts that retained full activity – even when they are awakened from deep slumber after more than one and a half years in the fridge. The technology offers a kit of whole cell biocatalysts in the form of lyophilised powder, which can be stored on-site and is ready for immediate and reliable in-house testing.
Important for industry
A diverse set of oxidative biocatalysts covering a broad substrate scope with unprecedented specificities and activity is now available for everyone. Examples include ROBOX enzymes distributed by the Groningen Enzyme & Cofactor Collection GECCO biotech, who are offering three types of enzymes for testing: Eugenol oxidase (EUGO), thermostable cyclohexanone monooxygenase (TmCHMO), and Polycyclic ketone monooxygenase (PockeMO). “Those are just a few successful examples of the highly acclaimed H2020 ROBOX project,” says Anton Glieder, head of protein production at ROBOX and founder of acib-start-up company bisy eU. The consortium, consisting of 17 academic and industrial collaborators, has one common goal: expanding the industrial use of robust oxidative biocatalysts and producing novel enzymes for a wide range of sectors. “In using innovative bio-catalytic oxidation routes simply using molecular oxygen under mild conditions, such as ambient temperature and pressure, we can improve the sustainability and economics of processes and applications, where oxygen-functionalities are key,” explains ROBOX project coordinator Marco Fraaije. “Our results are of great importance for widening the industrial use of oxygen-functionalities for segments like the pharma, flavour and fragrance, or material science industry.”
High impact technology
Martin Schürmann from InnoSyn B.V., also one of industrial ROBOX-partners, emphasises the impact of the new biocatalysts: “Stable enzyme formulations, especially for p450, are on top of the wish-list in industry, and we are very happy that after all these years, our wish was finally fulfilled. InnoSyn demonstrated that high value speciality chemicals with decade-long market demand can be made by enzymatic hydroxylation in a single-batch process.”
Prof. Anton Glieder