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Ajinomoto launches stable dipeptide

By Peter Mansell , 04-Apr-2007

US-based Ajinomoto Aminoscience has launched AminoStable, an L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine dipeptide for use in pharmaceutical products and cell culture media.

The company believes AminoStable's clean, adaptable profile and cost-effective manufacturing process will expand use of an amino acid whose applications to date have been restricted by poor stability and prohibitive costs. A division of Ajinomoto USA that says it is the leading global supplier of amino acids, Ajinomoto Aminoscience has manufactured AminoStable using a novel enzymatic method that can generate peptides in high yields at reduced cost. It involves esterification of the amino acid, after which this ester is enzymatically coupled with another amino acid. Conventional synthetic methods of manufacturing peptides are often lengthy and complex, with a high level of impurities, and can result in racemic mixtures that contain different enantiomeric forms of the peptide. The desired form then needs to be separated and purified, but standard purification procedures are highly expensive and in some cases can render the process commercially unviable. The potential health benefits of L-glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the human body (synthesized and stored mainly in skeletal muscle), include immune system regulation, treatment of oxidative stress, muscle preservation and intestinal health. However, the peptide's lack of stability, particularly in solution, has been a barrier to its use along with the cost of manufacture. Ajinomoto has addressed both of these issues by developing a simple, cost-effective process for manufacturing L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine and a product that is stable as a solution. Currently the only really stable format for the peptide is as a powder, said company spokesman Jack Voller. "You don't have to worry as much about the glutamine dissolving on you," he commented. Dipeptides, which are generated naturally in the body as part of the mechanism of protein breakdown, consist of two amino acids connected by a peptide bond. They are known to have properties and activities not available from single amino acids. Voller also said AminoStable was significantly less expensive than most of its major competitors in the L-glutamine market, although actual pricing would depend on volumes. Moreover, Ajinomoto was offering a "much cleaner" product, to the degree where it could "almost make a natural claim" on the peptide. The company will file for US Drug Master File approval of AminoStable, which will open up the product for use as an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) by drug and biotechnology companies. AminoStable will be manufactured in the Ajinomoto Aminoscience plant in Raleigh, North Carolina - the only US plant making pharmaceutical-grade amino acids under current good manufacturing practice (GMP) conditions.

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