Struggling to Make Biocatalysis Pay Off?

The use of enzymes as catalysts lets manufacturers contribute positively to the environment. Biocatalysis allows milder reaction conditions and lower temperatures, while replacing the often toxic traditional chemical catalysts. The obstacle has been in making the new route profitable despite the high up-front enzyme costs.

Reusing the enzymes would lead to lower overall catalyst costs, but traditional reactors have caused mechanical damage to the biocatalyst with every turn of the impeller.



The Solution

The rotating bed reactor (RBR) protects the immobilized enzymes by retaining them in a unique stirrer equipped with filters.

When rotated, the RBR generates a flow of liquid passing the enzymes at a rate superior to that of a column, while completely remediating the issues of attrition associated with a stirred tank reactor.

Learn more about the concept here.

Making an antiviral Covid-19 drug

The Medicines For All Institute developed a route for manufacturing Molnupiravir, used for treating Covid-19. Enzyme expenses were high: 50% of the raw material cost. After implementing an RBR, they were able to conveniently reuse the biocatalyst for repeated batches with preserved performance.


AstraZeneca scale up

AstraZeneca, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, used an RBR to improve the recycling of the immobilized enzyme. Published in Organic Process Research & Development, the authors note: “the immobilized enzyme was surprisingly stable ... and we could run 10 consecutive recycling experiments with preserved rate of reaction and enantioselectivity”


Hot API in production

XP Chemistries AB is a producer of sustainable capsaicin, the molecule responsible for the "heat" in the chili peppers. The ProRBR product range allowed XP Chemistries to smoothly transfer their well-developed reaction from the benchtop to 100L scale. Today XP Chemistries are producing capsaicin at high volume and with unique purity, positioning them as the world leading producer of sustainable capsaicin.


The impact of the rotating bed reactor

Researchers can now experiment without breaking the bank, and process development scientists can reach the required purity and yield per kilogram of biocatalyst. Chemists can now contribute to a sustainable production of pharmaceuticals.

What is holding you back from a environmentally and economically sustainable process?

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