Chromatide has been awarded a grant to help it develop an enzyme immobilisation method using its unique polymer systems that should enable them to be used in flow-chemistry systems.
There is increasing interest in harnessing the power of enzymes to make small molecule drug compounds as they can dramatically speed up compound synthesis from early-stage discovery to final compound production processes.
This interest has arisen due to the ability of enzyme's to perform chiral transformations efficiently and with high selectively, reducing the cost of synthesizing drug-like molecules.
Cheshire, UK-based Chromatide has been awarded a £75,000 (€104,400) grant for research and development (GRAND) by the UK's NorthWest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to evaluate the feasibility of immobilising enzymes using its patented encapsulation technology.
The 18 month project will focus on optimising the enzyme encapsulation process to maximise their catalytic activity during both batch- and flow-chemistry transformations.
One of the problems often associated with the immobilisation of enzymes is that traditional solid supports tend to be somewhat 'gel-like' to enable reagents to efficiently reach the active sites, but this can lead to filter blockage during filtration.
However, according to Chromatide, immobilisation of an enzyme within its novel polymer matrix should enable both efficient filtration as well as enabling efficient transport of reactants to the enzymes.
"By providing a unique environment for enzymes using our proprietary encapsulated polymer technology it is possible to create custom-made supports tailored to specific enzymes," said Dr Don Wellings, Chromatide's chief scientific officer.
"This enables us to create very effective immobilised enzymes, amenable to flow-through or batch reactors, which can be used to simplify the use of biotransformation processes in a range of industries".
In addition, the company believes that its technology will lower the costs involved with immobilising enzymes, making the technology even more attractive in drug-development and chemical production processes.
The work will initially focus on optimising the technology so that a range of enzymes can be used maximising the number of processes that the technology can used in.
Additionally, encapsulation of the enzymes within the polymer 'beads' should enable them to be used in flow chemistry systems that are finding increasing use in chemical discovery laboratories.
Process scale-up often causes time-delays in the drug-development process as small-scale batch reactions are not always easily scaled-up to enable enough compound to made for screening experiments and later studies.
However, flow chemistry techniques enable a process to be scaled-up by simply allowing a reaction to run for longer if needed.
The encapsulated polymer matrix is also being developed by the company for use in a variety of other applications including chromatographic purification as well as DNA and peptide synthesis.