Pharmaceutical services group Almac Sciences has teamed up with enzyme catalyst firm BioCatalytics on process development and manufacture of chiral intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
Under the terms of the deal, Almac will offer BioCatalytics' technology to customers using a model that it claims is unique in the industry.
Almac plans to embed the technology into a manufacturing network model, the first company to do so, which provides the customer with an option to decide on which manufacturing plant it wants its compound made.
The objective here, said David Moody, vice president of commercial operations at Almac Sciences, "is to provide Almac Sciences' customers with the best manufacturing solution, sited in the most appropriate assets…anywhere."
One of Almac's manufacturing collaborators is Kemfine, with plants in both Finland and in Scotland, but Almac is also looking into expansion to India and the US. Almac intends to have up to six collaborators in the network but are willing to work with others on an opportunistic basis.
One possible disadvantage of a technology transfer arrangement involving two companies is that it may cause delays but Moody assures that this is not the case and claims that Almac is maintaining excellent working relations with its network partners.
Drug compounds often exist as asymmetric (right- or left-handed) mirror images (enantiomers), but usually only one of the structures exhibits the desired pharmacological activity. Today around 60 per cent to 70 per cent of small molecules are products of chirality, according to Almac Sciences.
During the past three years, Ireland-based Almac has built up knowledge within chiral technology, and the recent and exclusive deal with BioCatalytics fits in nicely with its strategy.
BioCatalytics' enzyme platforms include both chiral resolution, with compounds separated into their enantiomers (both left- and right-handed), and chiral synthesis, in which only the desired chiral form is made.
One disadvantage of chiral resolution compared to chiral synthesis is that only 50 per cent of a desired enantiomer is obtained.
There are several strategies to produce chiral molecules, such as biocatalysis, which uses an enzyme-catalyzed reaction to convert a single starting compound to a single product, and chemocatalysis based on metal catalysts, which may have organic ligands attached to them to grant chirality.