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Production of Chiral Molecules in High Enantiomeric Excess via Cascade Biocatalysis

Technology #15025n

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Li Zhi
WU Shuke
Managed By
Ms Yong Yoke Ping (
Manager (65)66011680
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Tech Offer 15025N Production of Chiral Molecules [PDF]

Production of Chiral Molecules in High Enantiomeric Excess via Cascade Biocatalysis

LI Zhi; WU Shuke

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Industry Problem

Enantiomerically pure molecules are often used in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. These compounds are usually obtained through kinetic resolution of racemic mixtures after chemical synthesis, which may require the use of high cost and toxic catalysts or reagents. The kinetic resolution process may also be expensive and time consuming. A low cost method to synthesize enantiomerically pure molecules or molecules in high enantiomeric excess from low cost and easily available raw materials is widely sought after. 

 Two enantiomers of a generic amino acid that is chiral(1)


One-pot cascade catalysis is an important tool for sustainable chemical manufacturing, since it could avoid the energy- and time-consuming, yield-decreasing, waste-producing, and labour demanding separation and purification of the intermediates in traditional multistep synthesis. Although cascade biocatalysis exists naturally in the metabolic pathways in cells, it is necessary to develop non-natural cascade biocatalysis for the synthesis of non-natural chemical compounds.

This technology relates to the use of cascade biocatalysis (with whole cells) to prepare molecules in high enantiomeric excess e.g. chiral α-hydroxy carboxylic acids, chiral vicinal diols, chiral 1,2-amino alcohols and α-amino acids. Starting materials used can comprise of alkenes and styrenes.

Starting material that can be used in this technology

Image: Styrene 

Image: Alkene 

Value Proposition

  • Convenient, one-pot reaction to obtain high value added molecules diols in high ee and yield from low cost starting material
  • Easy to scale up, non-toxic

For more information, contact:

NUS Industry Liaison Office

  :+65 6516 7175



Ref : 15025N

Principal Investigator: Assoc. Prof. Li Zhi


Two enantiomers of a generic amino acid that is chiral (1)