Almac Group announces PhD scholarship at UCL

This investment follows the company’s announcement it completed an R&D centre within which its programme to accelerate enzyme discovery is currently underway

Almac Sciences, a member of the Almac Group, has announced its collaboration with University College London (UCL) aimed at investigating the use of enzymes for selective alkylation.

The programme builds on the collaboration first announced in 2013, and will see Almac co-fund a PhD scholarship over the next four years to investigate selective alkylations using enzymes.

Alkyl groups can have a significant effect on the physicochemical and biological properties of bioactive compounds. However, Almac says, it’s very difficult to achieve selective alkylation reactions using traditional synthetic approaches and toxic reagents are typically used. Enzymatic alkylation provides an alternative method using a specific class of transferase enzymes. They’re said to be particularly useful for the regioselective alkylation of compounds as well as the diversification of compound libraries.

Almac is interested in developing the use of these transferase enzymes in selective alkylation reactions with the aim of constructing novel enzyme cascades for the sustainable synthesis of structurally diverse compounds.

Lead academic at UCL, Prof Helen Hailes said: “We are very excited to continue to work with Almac Sciences on the discovery and application of transferase enzymes for the selective derivatisation of pharmaceutically relevant compounds and for incorporation into enzyme cascades.”

Prof Tom Moody, VP Technology Development and Commercialisation, Almac Sciences and Arran Chemical Company said: “We have a strong track record working with UCL that spans more than a decade and look forward to working with Helen, and her new PhD student, Matthew Salinger. I wish Matt every success in his studies and look forward to our first publication together as we welcome him to our new custom-built technology centre at our global headquarters.”

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