ROBOX: University of Manchester to contribute to new Green Chemistry Initiative

Chemical Industry and Universities working together on multi-million pound project to produce green biocatalysis for oxidation to be applied to produce important chemicals 

Professor Nicholas Turner

At a recent meeting in Brussels the new Horizon 2020 (H2020) EU project ROBOX for the development of robust biotechnology manufacturing methods for oxidation was announced.

The project is being led by DSM and The University of Groningen with The University of Manchester being an important partner developing technology to synthesize drug metabolites.

The €11.3M (£8.5M) project, ROBOX, brings together the companies of DSM and Givauden, nine Universities and five small to medium enterprises from across Europe. The aim is to develop sustainable biological and chemical alternatives to develop innovative bio-catalytic oxidation routes using molecular oxygen (from air) under benign and mild (pH) conditions such as ambient temperature and pressure. These developments will have several environmental and safety advantages over traditional chemical manufacturing methods.

Professor Nicholas Turner from The University of Manchester will lead the initiative for the use of these innovative techniques to produce drug metabolites which will then be used to make new drugs safer and lead to the development of better drugs. Professor Nicholas Turner commented “This is a unique opportunity for academic groups to work alongside chemical companies and specialist SMEs to develop innovative biocatalytic processes for applying oxidation for chemical synthesis. We believe that challenging problems of this nature are best solved on a pan-European basis by bringing together under one roof the combined expertise of many groups to establish a world-class research hub in catalysis and sustainable chemical synthesis.”

The ROBOX consortium consists of the coordinator DSM CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY R & D BV The Netherlands and partners GIVAUDAN SUISSE SA Switzerland; CHEMSTREAM BVBA Belgium; DYADIC NEDERLAND BV The Netherlands; C-LECTA GMBH Germany; EVOCATAL GMBH Germany; LentiKat's a.s. Czech Republic; ACIB GmbH Austria; TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET GRAZ Austria; RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT GRONINGEN The Netherlands; UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PAVIA Italy; RHEINISCH- WESTFAELISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE AACHEN Germany; THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER United Kingdom; DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET Denmark; FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG EV Germany; UNIVERSITAT AUTONOMA DE BARCELONA Spain; EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH Switzerland; UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT The Netherlands and PNO CONSULTANTS BV The Netherlands.

ROBOX was launched on April 1st 2015 and will run for four years. ROBOX has received funding from the European Union (EU) project ROBOX (grant agreement n° 635734) under EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme Research and Innovation actions H2020-LEIT BIO-2014-1”

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