About the Biocascades Project

In BIOCASCADES, eleven early-stage researchers (ESRs) will investigate the development of sustainable (chemo) enzymatic cascade reactions for the synthesis of optically pure amines and aminoalcohols as pharmaceutical ingredients. The proposed 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 Science and Technology Objectives

    1.) To combine different well established enzymes and chemical catalysts in an innovative way to design novel cascades. Aim is the development of a catalytic platform for the synthesis of highly functionalized optically pure amines and 1,2-, 1,3- and 1,4-amino alcohols.
    2.) To broaden the catalytic scope by combining enzymatic transformations with transitionmetal organic catalysts and to define strategies to increase the sustainability of these reactions.
    3.) To use compartmentalization techniques and enzyme engineering to improve catalyst compatibility and suppress cross reactivity.
    4.) To optimize space-time yield and atom economy, e. g. by establishing novel methods for the shift of equilibrium, in situ (co)-product removal, and by protein engineering.
    5.) To develop strategies for the scale-up of viable (chemo)enzymatic cascade reactions.

The aim of BIOCASCADES is not only to setup novel cascades towards functionalized chiral amines and aminoalcohols (giving the participating industrial partners freedom to operate and a unique selling position) but also to enforce the practical, economic implementation of the synthetic routes. Thus, BIOCASCADES will contribute to the development of environmentally benign technology and enhance Europe’s technological leadership in the field of (chemo-) enzymatic processes.

The Training Objectives

    Excellent research develop novel enzyme cascades for the production of complex amino alcohols and amines under the supervision of research leaders from biotechnology and chemistry. Learn formulating new ideas and problem solving when realizing these ideas.
    Interdisciplinary and international networking obtain all required skills and knowledge to combine different chemical and biological catalysts in the lab and their scale-up at companies. Learn to interact and communicate with scientists from different fields (biology, chemistry, and engineering) and different sectors (academia, SMEs and industry).
    Transferable skills and entrepreneurship develop novel and robust processes under the supervision of founders of innovative companies. Anticipate potential challenges in the early stages of planning and develop entrepreneurial spirit and techniques how to overcome them, which is critical to bridge the innovation gap between academia and industry.

Initial Training Network – European Industrial Doctorates

The Biocascades project is supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions: ITN-EID under the Environment Cluster.

The Biocascades Project is a joint collaboration among the following university and industrial partners