In the H2020 funded project BIOCASCADES, eleven early-stage researchers (PhD students) will investigate the development of sustainable(chemo)enzymatic cascade reactions for the synthesis of optically pure amines and aminoalcohols as pharmaceutical ingredients. The BIOCASCADES project combines different techniques such as biocatalysis, transition-metal catalysis, compartmentalization, protein engineering and reaction engineering in order to develop commercially viable and environmentally benign chemoenzymatic one pot reactions. By avoiding intermediate downstream and purification steps, cascade reactions minimize production costs and decrease energy demand and waste production. They are thus expected to make a major contribution to address one of the main challenges for the European industry, the development of sustainable and efficient production processes under the ‘green chemistry’ philosophy.
The consortium is formed by eight leading academic laboratories in biocatalysis (TU Delft, KTH Stockholm), enzyme discovery (University Greifswald, University Amsterdam), protein engineering (TU Graz, Ruhr-University Bochum) and chemoenzymatic synthesis (University Bielefeld, University Oviedo). They work together with DSM, Europe’s leading chemical company and a network of four innovative SMEs who contribute their expertise in bioinformatics and crystallography (Saromics), enzyme immobilization (Viazym), enzyme production (Enzymicals) and technical-scale biocatalysis (EntreChem). By combining this versatile expertise, the consortium can achieve a success that would not be possible in isolated projects.