Talk Session: SESSION 15: PEPTIDE NATURAL PRODUCTS AND BIOLOGICAL METHODS
Date: Thursday, June 16, 2023
Talk Time: 03:45 pm - 04:10 pm
Talk Title: Engineering Enzymes for Green Manufacturing of Noncanonical Amino Acids
Christina Boville has had a remarkable few years. In 2018, during her postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech, her advisor, Frances Arnold, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering the use of directed evolution to improve enzymes. The next year, Boville, Arnold, and David Romney co-founded Aralez Bio to commercialize this powerful technology, and Boville became an Activate Fellow, embedded at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Cyclotron Road Division.
Last summer, MIT Technology Review named Boville to its prestigious list of Innovators Under 35. None of the considerable hurdles of launching a startup during a pandemic have bumped Aralez Bio off its trajectory; the four-year-old startup is already generating revenue and had customers in its first month of operation.
Aralez Bio uses engineered enzymes to make valuable chemical products and to expand the scope of products that can be produced bio-renewably. With directed evolution, it trains enzymes to perform novel chemistry with superb selectivity and efficiency, merging the green character of nature’s biosynthetic mechanisms with the versatility of traditional chemistry. Aralez Bio’s flagship platform creates noncanonical amino acids, ncAAs, which are used in agriculture and to make 12 percent of the 200 best-selling medicines.
At Aralez Bio, we have developed an enzymatic platform to synthesize noncanonical amino acids quickly, sustainably, and at low cost. We use directed evolution to evolve enzymes that can do this synthesis in a single step with minimal waste while easily mixing and matching chemical moieties for enhanced pharmaceutical diversity.
Our proprietary enzymes catalyze a complexity-generating C–C bond-forming reaction with a broad range of readily available substrates, enabling us to manufacture more than 100 enantiopure amino acids at anywhere from mg to kg scale.
Through increased efficiency and product scope, Aralez Bio supports the development and manufacture of new peptides more quickly and cleanly than ever before.