Johnson Matthey partners with Basecamp Research to accelerate the adoption of biocatalysis solutions

Published: 5-Dec-2023

Expanding biocatalyst solutions will reduce energy use and waste in pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries

Johnson Matthey (JM), a global leader in sustainable technologies, and Basecamp Research, a leader in mapping biodiversity for computational biodesign, have announced their partnership to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable, bio-based catalysts.  

Biocatalysts are used across a vast range of synthesis processes to form complex chemical structures in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and fine chemical industries.

Biocatalysts are increasingly being adopted because of the important role they play in helping meet the more prominent sustainability goals of these industries.

One of the main hurdles to the widespread usage of biocatalysts in organic synthesis is the time-consuming search for suitable enzymes that deliver the desired catalytic performance. This typically involves multiple rounds of protein engineering and analysis. 

The partnership between JM and Basecamp will focus on accelerating the process to find the right biocatalyst solutions that small molecule manufacturers can use for new product development.

It will improve the quality and scope of biocatalysts available to the market, covering the most critical chemical transformations such as asymmetric reductions of ketones and chiral reductive amination, which are used to produce the fundamental building blocks in organic synthesis.    

Compared with traditional catalysis, they can be more selective, less energy intensive and reduce the need for organic solvents.  

Basecamp Research has developed a unique knowledge graph of life on Earth with more than six billion relationships between genes, genomes, environments and other biologically relevant data.

This biodiversity mapping tool, powered by AI-driven capabilities, is critical to the expansion of JM’s biocatalysis portfolio. Having new and diverse biocatalyst options will help reduce the development time and broaden the scope of applications.  

JM has already licensed a broad substrate-scope active enzyme which was sampled from a natural source and selected by Basecamp Research. When genetic resources are collected from nature, it is important that all parties benefit from the use.

In compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, Basecamp has passed on royalties to a conservation organization near the location of where the enzyme was discovered.  

Dr Elizabeth Rowsell OBE, Chief Technology Officer of Johnson Matthey said: “During the last decade, Johnson Matthey has grown its biocatalysis capabilities to offer enzyme development, application, process intensification, scale-up and bioprocessing." 

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"By partnering with Basecamp Research, we will be able to provide novel enzyme solutions that will benefit our customers in pharmaceutical drug developments and fine chemical synthesis.” 

Dr Oliver Vince, cofounder of Basecamp Research said: “Johnson Matthey is a pioneer in sustainable technologies with a strong expertise in catalysis and process chemistry."

"Their focus on biocatalysis speaks volumes to their forward-looking, sustainable innovation mindset. Combining Basecamp Research's unique biodiscovery and biodesign AI platform with JM’s biocatalysis expertise, will help industry take novel products to market more efficiently and sustainably.” 

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