04/2018 – TU Darmstadt leads consortium funded by the ERA CoBioTech research program
Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Fessner, who leads the Synthetic Bioorganic Chemistry group at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, has won a €1 Million 3-year ERA CoBioTech research grant under the first ERA-Net Cofund Action H2020 call “Biotechnology for a Sustainable Bioeconomy”. He will also coordinate the collaborative research project involving 6 partners from 4 EU countries with a total budget of €3 Million.
The project TRALAMINOL will develop innovative, environmentally sound biotechnological processes through a multi-disciplinary approach, involving bioinformatics, organic synthesis, biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular modeling, and biocatalytic process development. Enzyme superfamily portfolios with thousands of new enzymes from metagenomic sources will facilitate the discovery of robust biocatalysts for industrial application. TRALAMINOL will create a unique enzymatic reaction platform for catalyzing carboligation and amination reactions and, by building on these key steps, develop highly integrated methods for the synthesis of stereoisomerically pure amino alcohols. Amino alcohols are essential chiral building blocks for the synthesis of important agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, including drugs for the treatment of cancer, circulatory disease, diabetes, microbial infection and others.
Other leading European research groups involved are the University College London (U.K.), Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (Spain), Université Clermont Auvergne (France), and two industrial partners, BASF SE (Germany) and PROZOMIX (U.K.), who will contribute their complementary expertise. By fully exploiting the synergy between synthetic biology and biocatalysis, the TRALAMINOL consortium aims to establish sustainable, energy efficient industrial processes, which will contribute to reducing environmental footprints and lowering our dependence on fossil raw materials in a bio-based economy — addressing one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st century.
10/2017 CarbaZymes Summer School 2017, Siena (Italy)
Medieval Site Hosts Modern Cutting-Edge Science!
The idyllic surroundings of the 14th century Carthusian monastery Certosa di Pontignano, the official conference center of the Universitá degli studi di Siena (Italy), hosted an international Summer School on
Biocatalysis as a Key Enabling Technology
from 3 – 6 October 2017. Chaired by Professor Fessner from the Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany), the meeting was organized by CarbaZymes in collaboration with Metafluidics and ROBOX as an all Horizon 2020 funded, coordinated project event. Further participants also attended from current Marie-Curie ITN actions Biocascades, OXYtrain and EScat, as well as from the COST action CM1303 “Systems Biocatalysis”. The aim of the Summer School was to teach modern cutting edge technologies, disseminate conceptual innovations and recent discoveries, and to instruct the next generation of expert scientists in the field of biocatalysis. In total, 60 young researchers working in various laboratories from 16 European countries, of 23 different nationalities and from more than seven EU funded projects attented the School and showcased their own research work by poster contributions and short oral presentations. Twelve expert lecturers from six European countries, both from industry and academia, presented their insight views on important aspects within a compact program, spanning a broad scope of platform technologies from enzyme discovery, enzyme engineering, and synthetic applications, including industrial utilization.
Key enabling factors such as perfect weather, Tuscany landscape, Italian food and Chianti wine all helped together to stimulate intense scientific discussions and professional networking. Quite certainly, the event will have a positive impact on the future development of novel biocatalytic processes, towards a sustainable planet and a happier future for humanity!
07/2017 – CarbaZymes Delivers Innovation at BioTrans 2017
The CarbaZymes partners held their internal progress meeting this year in beautiful Budapest at the Eötvös Lóránd University, as a satellite event to the 13th BioTrans Symposium, Europe’s major conference in applied biocatalysis.
CarbaZymes had a strong presence at the BioTrans symposium too: Our research results were presented by Professor Clapés who gave a plenary lecture, Dr Anna Szekrenyi who gave an oral presentation and a further 12 posters showing the consortium´s outcomes and breakthroughs in biocatalytic syntheses, to support greener processes for industrial production.
Our SME partners were among the many industrial exhibitors participating in this esteemed scientific event, which this year attracted more than 520 participants, to raise their profiles with potential clients. Bio-Prodict was showcasing their novel 3DM technology for enzyme selection and optimisation, part of which was the new thermostability algorithm, developed within the CarbaZymes project. PROZOMIX was a conference sponsor and had a prominent logo presence. In addition their advanced proprietary GRASP™ high-throughput (meta-)genome-mining technology towards the development of novel/maximum diversity panels of biocatalysis enzymes, and new CMO services, were communicated through leaflets to all participants. Moreover, during BioTrans we officially announced our upcoming CarbaZymes showcase event, the Novel Enzymes Conference, which will take place next year (9-12 October 2018) at the coordinator´s site, the Technische Universität Darmstadt, in Darmstadt, Germany. We hope to see you all there!
06/2016 – CarbaZymes Progress Meeting
Enzymatic C-C bond formation with a sustainable and economic industrial focus
On the 2nd and 3rd of June 2016, the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain) hosted the Progress Meeting of the H2020 CarbaZymes project. Altogether, 40 researchers representing 6 innovative SME´s, 1 industry leader in specialty chemicals and 7 outstanding academic and research organizations from 5 European countries participated.
CarbaZymes is developing advanced methods of biocatalysis using enzymes and microorganisms to catalyze organic synthetic reactions under mild and more sustainable reaction conditions. Carbon-carbon bond forming reactions are key steps in various industrial processes that construct molecules of high value. With a focus on innovation, application and scalability, CarbaZymes has a genuine practical vision. Its goal is to produce much in demand Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API´s) and bulk chemicals, up to the level of demonstration activities planned for large-scale synthesis implementations under industrial settings. The CarbaZymes outcomes will make a significant social and economic impact, by responding efficiently to the needs of an increasing and aging population and by addressing markets worth billions. Moreover, the CarbaZymes project aims to strengthen the global competitiveness of European biotechnology.
During the meeting, successful results were discussed, with outcomes such as the identification of novel enzymes, the optimization of biocatalytic reactions, or the set-up of enzymatic cascades for potential applications. The Consortium´s cutting-edge approach was also demonstrated by three CarbaZymes partners, including The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Technical University of Darmstadt and the SME Sustainable Momentum SL, who have already filed a patent application for a process that is valuable for industrial production. Likewise, other partners are proceeding with patenting of further processes as well. Once IP is secured for future exploitation and value generation, dissemination activities of CarbaZymes come into play. Several publications of the consortium are also in preparation and will be published shortly in high-ranked scientific journals.
09/2015 – EC Workshop: Maximising the Impact of KET Biotechnology
22 September 2015 Brussels, Belgium
Professor Fessner from the Technische Universität Darmstadt as the CarbaZymes coordinator and Dr. Rainer Wardenga, chief scientist from the SME Enzymicals, participated as invited speakers in this workshop which was organised by the European Commission.
The workshop provided a good opportunity for the CarbaZymes consortium to present their new project and to offer valuable insights from their experience and expertise to the discussion on how to maximize the anticipated impact of research and innovation projects by applying Key Enabling Technologies (KETs).
Biotechnology in the Horizon 2020 Programme
Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are multi-disciplinary, knowledge and capital-intensive technologies. They cut across many diverse sectors providing the basis for significant competitive advantage for the European industry, and stimulate growth and the creation of new jobs.
The specific objectives of biotechnology research and innovation under “Industrial Leadership” are
- to develop competitive, sustainable, safe and innovative industrial products and processes, and
- to contribute as an innovation driver in a number of European sectors like agriculture, forestry, food, energy, chemical and health as well as bioeconomy.
Check out the CarbaZymes presentation here.
03/2015 – TU Darmstadt wins major EU grant in the Horizon 2020 research program
Industrial chemical processes carried out through “classic” chemistry and catalysis often involve the use of hazardous substances and considerable amounts of energy. In contrast, enzymes catalyze the natural “manufacture and modification” of molecules with exquisite selectivity, unparalleled rate acceleration and under mild reaction conditions. Thus, the application of enzymes to catalyze industrial reactions (“biocatalysis”), has the potential to improve chemical processes in compliance with the concept and principles of Green Chemistry.
The international project CARBAZYMES, coordinated by Prof. Fessner, will develop sustainable industrial processes based on a C-C bond-forming enzyme platform. The project has started in April 2015 and includes the participation of 14 enterprises and research centers from 5 different countries. The project will be funded by the European Commission with contract number 635595 over the course of four years with a total budget of more than 8 Mio Euro including 1.47 Mio Euro for research carried out at TU Darmstadt. During its course, the project will develop the biocatalytic synthesis of APIs and bulk chemicals using a broad platform of unique C-C bond forming enzymes.
02/2015 – DFG supports interdisciplinary French-German research program
This bi-national research project will develop new synthetic applications by using a novel thermostable transketolase as highly stereoselective biocatalyst. To expand its synthetic usefulness, the enzyme will be modified by directed protein evolution in vitro, using active-site directed random mutagenesis followed by high-throughput screening for improved variants. Targets are new acceptor and new donor specificities, inversion of enantioselectivity, as well as applications to synthetic building blocks of commercial relevance.
02/2015 – TU Darmstadt is grant holder for COST network “Systems Biocatalysis”
Systems Biocatalysis is a new approach consisting of organizing enzymes in vitro to generate an artificial metabolism for synthetic purposes. The strategy of this key new platform deals with the analysis of enzymatic systems in vivo, the development and discovery of new biocatalysts, and their assembly in vitro into novel synthetic metabolic pathways.
This network aims at the controllable construction of metabolic pathways for the efficient synthesis of valuable chemical products. Tasks involved are the discovery of new biocatalyst, the optimization of their function, mutual compatibility and regulation, and the construction of a continuous flux for high efficiency. These tasks require research in various disciplines, as well as in molecular and engineering aspects of whole synthetic reaction sequences. Therefore this multidisciplinary Action is organized by an innovative grid Working Group structure. The latter will interface vertical thematic pillars with horizontal technology bridges, to foster a profound integration of the European Research Area. The new collaborative research network will develop innovative methods for the discovery, design, optimization, and use of novel biocatalytic modules towards a plug-and-play enzymatic toolbox concept. This platform will be instrumental for the training of the next generation of researchers in cutting-edge technologies and for the rapid translation of results into value creation by European industries.