How biocatalysis is improving active pharmaceutical ingredient production?

Biocatalytic processing has several advantages over conventional approaches. Biocatalysis is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

How biocatalysis is improving active pharmaceutical ingredient production?
Biocatalysis uses organic materials such as enzymes or whole cells to accelerate chemical reactions. (File)

By Naveen Kulkarni

With the changing era, businesses across industries are transitioning towards more sustainable future. In this scenario, lowering one’s carbon footprint and identifying sustainable alternatives are critical across many businesses, including pharmaceutical manufacturers. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry is using biocatalysis to cope with the impediment.Several pharmaceutical firms are evaluating biocatalytic techniques at the early stages of drug development to prevent missing out on opportunities to capitalise on such improvements.

The Importance of Biocatalysis

Biocatalysis uses organic materials such as enzymes or whole cells to accelerate chemical reactions. Biocatalysis is regarded as one of the most potent organic synthesis processes due to its exceptional regio-, enantio-, and stereoselectivity, as well as its environmental friendliness. Biocatalysis, which uses enzymes to synthesise organic compounds, has emerged as a powerful method for producing active medicinal components. Thanks to the recent development of a wide range of supporting technologies, notably in the pharmaceutical research industry, it has become a tried-and-true technique for efficient, environmentally friendly production. Although biocatalysis can facilitate the transitions from fossil fuels that can create benefits, few chemical manufacturers also experience challenges with enzymes and promoting them commercially.

The Advantages of Using Biocatalysis

Biocatalytic processing has several advantages over conventional approaches. Biocatalysis is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. As there is an increasing interest in the Indian government’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, biocatalysts play an essential role in supporting enterprises with green chemistry initiatives. The approach also enhances enantioselectivity and stereoselectivity while needing fewer synthetic steps and a shorter development cycle. The enhanced stereoselectivity improves product purity by guaranteeing that only one stereoisomer responds in the presence of a combination of stereoisomers. The biocatalysis approach, emphasizing green chemistry, minimizes organic solvent consumption and prevents harmful chemical reactions.

Biocatalysis also improves atom economy when two or more moieties on the same molecule can undertake an inevitable reaction, biocatalytic process ensures that one is consistently picked over the other. The exceptional selectivity of enzyme catalysts streamlines workflows by creating fewer by-products and lowering contaminants, significantly reducing the total number of synthetic steps required. Challenges in Biocatalysis

Despite the fact that biocatalysts are typically highly active and incredibly selective, there are significant challenges. For instance, enzyme evolution is a costly and time-consuming process. Screening a considerable population of variations necessitates high throughput infrastructure, which is not always available, especially in the pharmaceutical business, and is inaccessible to smaller biotech companies. Furthermore, biocatalysts’ lack of designability, stability constraints, and a scarcity of well-characterized and ready-to-use biocatalysts have slowed acceptance.

Biocatalysis, like other applied sciences, is driven by basic science. Despite remarkable advances in and around the area of biocatalysis, it has been established that a recurring, unsolved issue is making biocatalysis more predictive. However, technological advancements are resulting in good patterns and expanding the opportunity to address gaps for future growth.

Assistance of Technology in the Advancement

The development of numerous supporting technologies has been crucial in both broadening the potential of biocatalytic processing and boosting its adoption throughout the pharmaceutical sector. Improvements in gene mining techniques have enabled the discovery of previously unknown gene clusters, while developments in heterologous expression and manufacturing have allowed encoded enzymes to be swiftly scaled up and assessed as instruments for chemical synthesis.

Building on this success, recombinant technologies have been critical in improving the performance of biocatalytic reagents, for instance, by reducing the quantity of enzyme required to drive a reaction while boosting yield. It has also been feasible to create enzymes that work successfully in organic solvents, significantly extending the number of potential reactions. Other technological advances have improved the efficiency of immobilising enzymes on solid substrates such as glass, silicon, or any other polymer. This makes removing enzyme residues from the intended product easier and assures the reutilization of high-turnover enzymes without compromising activity. Hence, in the truest sense, with the assistance of technology, biocatalysis tools are improving active pharmaceutical ingredient production

Paving the way for the future!

With the introduction of biological processes and ongoing advances in enzyme engineering, the field of biocatalysis is rapidly expanding. Furthermore, by using biocatalysis, corporations are building an industrial biotechnology process to increase the sustainability of active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing and create production processes that compete with alternative low-cost economic producers. It also delivers considerable benefits, such as lower costs, faster time to market, and game-changing technical advantages for long-term competitive advantage. In essence, the biocatalysis technique is improving the manufacturing of active medicinal ingredients.

(The author is a CEO, Quantumzyme. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

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