Creates industrial molecules that can be produced via fermentation to meet demand in commercial markets
SEATTLE (November 3, 2016) Arzeda has reached a major technical milestone with Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMRS) as a part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Technology Investment Agreement (TIA). Arzeda’s high-throughput, automated pipeline for protein engineering and pathway discovery has been validated by the production of two keystone molecules which will now be further optimized by Amyris. These two molecules are industrially important as dyes, food ingredients and pharmaceutical intermediates, but their current manufacture involves the use of highly toxic and carcinogenic substances such as cyanide and benzene.
“Arzeda’s computational design and synthetic biology technologies for protein design and pathway prediction can now leverage natural fermentation to produce molecules previously only produced through organic chemistry,” said Alexandre Zanghellini, co-founder and CEO of Arzeda. “We can also optimize them in ways not accessible to the synthetic chemist, creating the next generation of products with improved performance. We look forward to working with Amyris to further develop this important technology.”
The current manufacturing process for these molecules presents occupational health hazards, is energy-intensive and leads to environmental damage through the discharge of toxic effluents. With the Arzeda designed synthetic organism, production by fermentation could readily result in a more sustainable, non-toxic and safer process. Moreover, further derivatization could yield new, healthier nutritional food ingredients with improved performance.
Under this DARPA-funded TIA, led by Amyris, Arzeda is developing a high-throughput automated pipeline for the computational design of novel enzymes and pathways for the production of novel molecules in a variety of fermentation hosts. Amyris leverages its world-class high-throughput strain construction and optimization to validate and further optimize the resulting synthetic organisms to industrially relevant levels. The next steps in the project are to produce more molecules for testing and to scale the technology to produce commercial quantities of molecules that are shown to have industrial application.
“These two keystone molecules resulting from Arzeda designs have the potential to be a step change for small molecule production,” said Joel Cherry, President of R&D at Amyris. “Their successful commercial production would allow a safer and lower cost alternative to current chemical syntheses, and further demonstrate that biology is a preferred alternative to existing industrial chemistry.”
Since 2008 Arzeda has been harnessing the power of computational and synthetic biology to create new enzymes and chemical products that can compete on cost, performance and sustainability. In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and industrial leaders, the company has developed a portfolio of enzymes and specialty chemicals for polymers, advanced materials and health and nutrition products. Arzeda’s proprietary platform and validation process rapidly creates “cell factories” that can be used at industrial scales to solve problems and create opportunities that otherwise would be impossible. More information is available online at www.arzeda.com and twitter.com/@ArzedaCo.
Amyris is the integrated renewable products company that is enabling the world’s leading brands to achieve sustainable growth. Amyris applies its innovative bioscience solutions to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules and produce specialty ingredients and consumer products. The company is delivering its No Compromise® products across a number of markets, including specialty and performance chemicals, flavors and fragrances, cosmetics ingredients, and pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. More information about the company is available at www.amyris.com.