Aquapharm and c-LEcta to drive forward discovery and commercialisation of marine-derived biocatalysts
18 July 2012
In a pioneering collaboration the leading Scottish biotechnology
company Aquapharm and German industrial biotechnology firm c-LEcta
are set to fast-track the discovery and commercialisation of a new
wave of bio-catalysts.
c-LEcta is skilled in the identification and engineering of
enzymes and strains for optimized bio-catalytic industry processes,
whilst Aquapharm has proven expertise in harnessing the commercial
potential of its unique collection of marine bacteria and
Together the partners will strengthen and expand their ability
to provide innovative solutions across many market areas including
production of natural, sustainably produced food, beverage and
personal care ingredients.
Synthetic catalysts are broadly used tools in industry to
manufacture all kinds of products from consumer goods, including
food ingredients and washing powder, to agricultural chemicals and
pharmaceuticals. With a growing number of companies becoming driven
by sustainability concerns there has been increased interest in
replacing energy-intensive chemical processes that require
synthetic catalysts with eco-friendly, naturally-derived
Aquapharm and c-LEcta plan to capitalise on that demand by
identifying new enzymes from Aquapharm's collection of marine
bacteria, which can be sustainably produced and used as natural
substitutes for synthetic catalysts.
Jon Williams, VP Commercial, Aquapharm, said: "Bio-catalysts
have the potential to far exceed the efficiency of synthetic
catalysts, leading to reductions in not only environmental impact
but also production costs. Of particular relevance to Aquapharm is
manufacturers' demand for biocatalysts from unusual or extreme
environments where micro-organisms are exposed to unique selection
pressures such as very high or very low temperatures or pressures,
as it is believed that they could open up currently inaccessible
"With our collection of more than 10,000 strains of marine
bacteria - and our dynamic and complementary partner c-LEcta - we
are now in a better position than ever to drive forward the
discovery and development of novel products and bio-catalysts, and
crucially, to fast-track them to market."
Aquapharm's initial research has already helped to validate the
enzyme potential of its micro-organism collection by confirming the
presence of novel industry-relevant bio-catalysts in small-scale
academic and industrial collaborations.
The partnership with c-LEcta represents a step-change in scale
in which c-LEcta will convert up to 2,000 of Aquapharm's marine
bacterial strains into genomic libraries, and establish
activity-based screening programmes to identify novel enzymes.
c-LEcta's innovative tools for the development of these
libraries, and its market-proven expertise in bio-catalyst
identification and process implementation within industry
partnerships, will be a crucial element for the successful
commercial leverage of Aquapharm's strains provided under this
"We consider Aquapharm's strain portfolio a highly valuable
asset and are dedicated to jointly paving its way to tomorrow's
world of bio-catalysis" says Dr. Mathias Bell, Senior Business
Development Manager of c-LEcta.
"The enzymatic repertoires evolved and diversified by organisms
in unusual habitats provide an excellent and broad resource to meet
the growing expectations of our industry partners in innovative and
bio-based industry process solutions."
The collaboration is part-supported by a Eurostars grant.