The IB Catalyst Round 2 awards have now been announced, and we are pleased to say that “Glycoenzymes for Bioindustries”, jointly developed by BIOCATNET and IBCarb NIBBs has been funded. Developed as the result of the joint event hosted by the two networks, this large collaboration will lead to an improved and expanded toolkit of enzymes active against carbohydrates, with a host of diverse applications in Industrial Biotechnology, from glycoengineering for production of biologics, to diagnostics, to advanced manufacturing, and consumer products.
“There are a wealth of glycoenzymes in nature but only a small number of enzymatic activities are used in industrial processes, primarily carbohydrate degrading enzymes used in high volume manufacturing such as amylases/xylanases/cellulases/oxidases used in baking/detergents/biofuels. Even fewer examples exist in high value manufacturing applications such as biologics: one example is the production of the therapeutic Cerezyme where alpha-neauramindase is used to deglycosylate exposing terminal Man residues improving its targeting. A major hurdle is the availability of appropriate enzymes which can limit utilisation in the early stage of process development thus reducing the number of successful processes involving glycoenzymes. The present project aims to overcome the current limitations of glycoenzyme availability by bringing together a number of innovative high-throughput approaches to biocatalyst discovery. We have assembled a list of 20 different glycoenzyme activities including various glycosyltransferases, polysaccharide-modifying enzymes, glycosidases and sugar oxidases that will form the basis of the research. Through iterative rounds of biocatalyst discovery, characterisation and development we aim to bring to market panels of different glycoenzyme classes that are readily available for screening by end users.
The project will translate existing academic work on the development of novel glycoenzymes to produce a suite of stable/robust enzymes at scale to address the current gaps in certain commercially available specificities. The lack of availability of such enzymes is a major barrier to those wishing to utilise them for diagnostics, synthesis or chemical modification processes often necessitating de novo synthesis of the enzyme targeting the required reaction before development/evaluation of the process can begin. Each academic partner will develop a subset of the glycoenzyme classes, providing the necessary analytical expertise to characterise and optimise the enzymes. Underpinning this work will be genome mining combined with enzyme evolution to discover/develop novel microbial sourced enzymes displaying desired activities. Industry input to the project will guide the development of the enzymes whilst ensuring that they are fit for purpose and brought to market to allow end user access.”