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Oviedo, Spain

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EID | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-EID | Award Amount: 2.79M | Year: 2015

In BIOCASCADES, nine early-stage researchers (ESRs) will investigate the development of sustainable (chemo)enzymatic cascade reactions under the green chemistry philosophy. The proposed BIOCASCADES project combines different techniques such as compartmentalization, protein engineering and reaction engineering in order to develop commercially viable and environmentally benign one pot reactions. By avoiding intermediate downstream- and purification-steps, cascade reactions minimize production costs, energy demand and waste production and are thus expected to make a major contribution for the development of sustainable and efficient production processes. Small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are emerging as main drivers of European Research. They are dynamic, explore new areas and create new ideas, while large companies rely more and more on outsourcing research or involving SMEs by joint ventures. However, small companies are not strong enough as stand-alone enterprises, which requires them to form networks with other SMEs and academia. This creates a strong demand for young researchers who can move freely in an international and interdisciplinary environment. In a tailor-made training program BIOCASCADES aims to provide the nine early stage researchers with specific scientific and transferable skills for careers in the highly dynamic European biotechnology sector. Training at leading laboratories of biocatalysis will develop their scientific skills, while secondments to the industry and specific workshops will develop their entrepreneurship. The graduates of this doctorate program will be highly qualified for collaborative research between European academia and industry. The consortium is formed by leading academic laboratories from biocatalysis and protein engineering together with a network of four innovative biotech companies. By combining their versatile expertise, the consortium can achieve a success that would not be possible in isolated projects.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.6-02 | Award Amount: 11.33M | Year: 2013

STREPSYNTH aims to set-up a Streptomyces-based new industrial production platform (SNIP) for high value added biomolecules. Streptomyces lividans was chosen as a bacterial host cell because it has been already shown to be highly efficient for the extracellular production of a number of heterologous molecules that vary chemically, has a robust tradition of industrial fermentation and is fully accessible to genetic intervention. To develop SNIP our strategy has two components: first, we will construct a collection of reduced-genome S. lividans strains. This will metabolically streamline the cell and rid it of agents (e.g. proteases) of potential harm to the heterologous polypeptides. Second, we will engineer synthetic parts and cassettes, i.e. reshuffled, rewired and repurposed genetic elements either indigenous to S. lividans or heterologous genes organized in artificial operon clusters. These elements will serve three aims: transcriptional and translational optimization, sophisticated on-demand transcriptional regulation that will provide unique fermentation control and metabolic engineering of complete cellular pathways channeling biomolecules to profuse extracellular secretion. Synthetic parts and cassettes will be either directly incorporated into the genome or be hosted in the form of plasmids. Systems biology tools will guide fine-tuning rounds of cell factory engineering and fermentation optimization. To set up SNIP we chose two classes of biomolecules with obvious immediate industrial value and application: heterologous proteins (industrial enzymes, biopharmaceuticals, biofuel enzymes, diagnostics) and small molecules (lantipeptides and indolocarbozoles) useful for multiple industrial purposes (biopharmaceuticals, additives, food technology, bioenergy). These biomolecules are of immediate interest to SMEs that participate and guide the industrial relevance of STREPSYNTH. SNIP is a modular platform that can be repurposed for diverse future applications.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2010.3.3-02 | Award Amount: 10.64M | Year: 2011

BIONEXGEN will develop the next generation of biocatalysts to be used for eco-efficient manufacturing processes in the chemical industry. A collaboration by industrial and academic partners have identified the key technology fields of amine synthesis, polymers from renewable resources, glycoscience and wider oxidase application as four key areas where the next generation of biocatalysts that will lead to improvements in both economic and environmental performance of the chemical manufacturing industries. This project will enable industry to use renewable resources with reduced greenhouse gas production as compared to their fossil counterparts and deliver biotechnological routes with reduced energy consumption and less toxic wastes compared to conventional chemical processes. Routes to specialised, high-value chemicals (e.g. chiral chemical compounds) normally require long chemical synthetic routes involving complex reaction steps with toxic side products and waste streams and this project will allow these methods to be replaced by clean biocatalysis routes. To broaden the range of fine and speciality chemicals and intermediates produced by biotechnological routes, research will address: (i) design and optimisation of enzymes to be used in synthetic chemistry, (ii) the selection/development of modified microorganisms which are resistant to heat, pressure or low pH when used in the production of chemical entities and allow (iii) the integration of biotechnological steps into conventional chemical processes. The project will develop and integrate with chemical steps the biotechnological manufacturing routes for the synthesis of fine and speciality chemicals especially amines, oligosaccharides and renewable polymer intermediates which are better in terms of eco-efficiency, economic potential, complexity and /or specificity of the synthetic pathways than those currently employed. Dissemination strategy will enhance the impact of this work through three separate initiatives. Economic viability and eco-efficiency will be evaluated and assessed on a quantitative basis and these results will be published in the scientific literature. Green chemistry initiatives in the BIONEXGEN project and the FP7 contributions will be presented to the wider public on a project website and through material displays at the museum in Manchester and the Big Saturday event in Manchester Science Week. An overall end of project meeting in Brussels will invite a range of political decision makers and industry leaders to attend and will ensure maximum impact. The project was devised with a strong involvement of industrial partners, in particular SMEs and is strength of this project and will contribute significantly to ensure application of the technology. This combination of technical will lead to the development of new green chemical manufacturing technology platforms that will be tested for specific targets in the European chemical manufacturing industries and use these as case studies for dissemination on a broad front.

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