Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biomolecular Screening
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 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ 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 Announces Launch of CLIA Validated Next Generation Sequencing Assay
P53 considered important biomarker for cancer drug discovery.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Scientific News
High Throughput Mass Spectrometry-Based Screening Assay Trends
Dr John Comley provides an insight into HT MS-based screening with a focus on future user requirements and preferences.
Measuring microRNAs in Blood to Speed Cancer Detection
A simple, ultrasensitive microRNA sensor holds promise for the design of new diagnostic strategies and, potentially, for the prognosis and treatment of pancreatic and other cancers.
Potential Persistent Tuberculosis Treatment
Researchers have discovered several first-in-class compounds that target hidden TB infections by attacking a critical process the bacteria use to survive in the hostile environment of the lungs.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
The Do’s and Don’ts of SPR Experiments
Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) is a technique that is becoming more widely used, particularly by anyone who wants to obtain accurate on (association) and off (dissociation) rates for biomolecular binding.
Long-Sought Protein Sensor for the ‘Sixth Sense’ Discovered
In a study led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI)the sensor protein for propioception has been identified.
New Anti-Malarial Drug Screening Model
University of South Florida researchers demonstrate novel chemogenomic profiling to identify drug targets for the most lethal strain of malaria.
Shedding Light on “Dark” Cellular Receptors
UNC and UCSF labs create a new research tool to find homes for two orphan cell-surface receptors, a crucial step toward finding better therapeutics and causes of drug side effects.
New, Better Test for Prostate Cancer
A study from Karolinska Institutet shows that a new test for prostate cancer is better at detecting aggressive cancer than PSA.
Giant Molecules Inhibit Ebola Infection
European researchers have designed a "giant" molecule formed by thirteen fullerenes covered by carbohydrates which, by blocking this receptor, are able to inhibit the cell infection by an artificial ebola virus model.

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
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos