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Harnessing the Power of P450 Enzymes for Large-Scale Manufacturing

Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) have been the subject of extensive research for decades. These enzymes are involved in numerous metabolic and synthetic processes, and are best known for their role in clearing toxic chemicals including pharmaceuticals. This in turn makes them highly significant for the pharmaceutical industry, not only for their potential to influence drug interactions and drug metabolism, but also as therapeutic targets. P450s continue to be a valuable research tool at a small scale due to their ability to catalyze the incorporation of an oxygen atom into unactivated C-H bonds. However, the incorporation of a P450 enzyme by process chemists has come up against hurdles that to date have prevented these powerful enzymes from being used at manufacturing scale. Here we consider some of those limitations along with recent developments in biocatalysis that may overcome these challenges, allowing pharma and other manufacturing industries to gain from the significant cost advantages of incorporating P450-regulated chemistries into their processes.

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