Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Medicinal Chemistry
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Almac Secures New Metagenomics and Enzyme Discovery Programme with UCL

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The BBRSC Programme combines Chemistry and Biochemical Engineering at UCL with Almac’s Biocatalysis Group.

The Almac biocatalysis group has secured a prestigious BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) programme with UCL focused specifically on metagenomics and novel enzyme discovery. The R&D work concerned is set to be carried out jointly between Almac and the departments of Biochemical Engineering and Chemistry at UCL, with high level input from two world leaders in the field of biocatalyst discovery and application, Professors John Ward and Helen Hailes.

Dr. Tom Moody, Almac’s Head of Biocatalysis & Isotope Chemistry, commented “This clearly adds further depth to our expertise and complements our recent collaboration with DSM in accessing diverse enzyme collections.”

Professor Ward remarked: “We are very excited to continue working with Almac on this prestigious project, building on many years of collaboration and partnership. Indeed, this project will see our internal capabilities further developed with true industrial needs in our vision.”

The application of biocatalysis technology to the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries is continuing to grow year on year and this trend is mirrored in the increasing number of synthetic projects being carried out by the biocatalysis group in Almac.

The only limitation of biocatalysis is in the number of diverse enzymes available in a given enzyme class, which dictates both the substrate range and the stereoselectivity observed for a desired chemical transformation. The majority of enzymes used in biocatalysis are derived from microbial sources. However, it is known that only a tiny percentage (as low as 0.1% from soil samples) of bacteria present in an environmental sample can be cultured and isolated.

Metagenomics, a culture-independent technique used to extract the total DNA from an environment, can circumvent this problem and allow access up to 99% of enzyme genes present in environmental samples. Work previously carried out at UCL has allowed a series of metagenomes to be obtained from various unusual sources. The use of bioinformatic tools developed by John Ward with Prof Christine Orengo of the Structural and Molecular Biology department at UCL will allow the metagenomes concerned to be mined for enzymes usable in both synthetic chemistry and synthetic biology projects.

Moody further commented “The need for more diverse enzymes has never been greater and this research programme further emphasises Almac’s commitment to UK research and to biocatalysis development.”

He continued; “The project will mainly focus on transaminase and cytochrome P450s enzymes. We will   identify, clone and express these enzymes before carrying out extensive screening against panels of ‘typical’ pharmaceutical and fine chemical substrates. This should enable us   to identify novel and commercially useful enzyme biocatalysts. As the follow-on step, directed evolution at Almac will enable further development of the lead enzymes concerned.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,700+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Almac Wins Laboratory Team of the Year at The Irish Laboratory Awards 2013
The awards held to recognize the success and achievements of Ireland’s internationally renowned scientists.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Richard Segiel, Jr. Joins Almac as Vice President of US Business Development
Richard will focus on developing new business, maintaining existing business, and developing partnerships.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Todd Kole Appointed to Almac’s Clinical Technologies Executive Team
Todd will oversee clinical project management and drug supply services globally.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Scientific News
Have Your Drug Nano-Delivered Via Microbubble
A UC engineering professor is working to develop effective nanoparticle-bubble drug delivery systems to access precise locations in the body to treat medical conditions such as cancer, eye disease and spinal disc degeneration.
Atriva Therapeutics GmbH Develops Innovative Flu Drug
Highly effective against seasonal and pandemic influenza.
Study Removes Cancer Doubt for Multiple Sclerosis Drug
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are calling on the medical community to reconsider developing a known drug to treat people with relapsing Multiple sclerosis after new evidence shows it does not increase the risk of cancer as previously thought.
New Hope for Personalized Treatment of Eczema
Pharmaceutical researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new approach to treat eczema and other inflammatory skin disorders that would use individual tests and advanced science to create personalized treatments based on each person's lipid deficiencies.
Inroads Against Leukaemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
Researchers Disguise Drugs As Platelets to Target Cancer
Researchers have for the first time developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient’s own platelets.
HIV Patients Should Be Included in Early Clinical Trials of Anti-TB Drugs
Tuberculosis is the number one cause of death in HIV-infected patients in Africa and a leading cause of death in this population worldwide.
Combination Drug Therapy Shrinks Pancreatic Tumors In Mice
Two drugs that affect the structure and function of DNA have been found to block the growth of pancreatic tumor cells in mice, researchers hope the drugs can soon be tested in humans with the disease.
Seeking A Better Way To Design Drugs
NIH funds research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to advance a new chemical process for more effective drug development and manufacturing.
Old Drug Performs New Tricks
Cambridge-led research reveals the powers of a "wonder drug" that has lain under the noses of doctors for 50 years.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,700+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos