UK-based Avecia, Europe's largest privately owned chemicals company, has teamed up with Germany's IEP to develop new synthetic routes for pharmaceutical intermediates using biocatalysis.
The agreement also represents a bolstering of Avecia's activities in chiral production technology, which has developed rapidly in the last few years due to an increasing demand for chiral or single stereoisomer compounds as active ingredients in pharmaceuticals. Chiral ingredients are those that consist of just one of the two mirror-image conformations that are encountered in organic compounds.
Reduction of compounds such as ketones is a key stage in the synthesis of a number of chiral intermediates, and there is a growing movement towards the use of biocatalysts for this purpose, with new collaborations in this area between DSM and Degussa and Wacker and Prokaria, amongst others.
Under the terms of the alliance, IEP will perform development work for Avecia on various unnamed pharmaceutical intermediates, and the two companies will combine their biocatalysis process technology to develop improved bioreduction processes to produce the target compounds. Financial details were not disclosed.