New science chief at METabolic EXplorer
the development and production of new biological processes for the
manufacturing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, has bolstered its
scientific team with the appointment of Philippe Soucaille to the
position of chief scientific officer.
METabolic EXplorer, a French biotechnology company specialising in the development and production of new biological processes for the manufacturing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, has bolstered its scientific team with the appointment of Philippe Soucaille to the position of chief scientific officer.
Soucaille joins the company from France's National Institute for Applied Sciences (INSA) in Toulouse, and previously served as senior scientist at Genencor International where he headed a project looking at the development of chemicals from renewable raw materials.
METabolic EXplorer was set up in 1999 with the aim of developing alternatives to chemical synthesis of compounds using novel fermentation techniques. The company claims to differ from its rivals in the biomanufacturing sector because it bundles in a proprietary bioinformatics platform (MetaVista) to guide the development of cell strains that improve product yields and reduce by-products, as well as a metabolic profiling platform (Flux Vision). This provides analysis of intra- and extracellular compounds and metabolic flux using nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis.
"METabolic EXplorer has already established a leading proprietary position in the field of rational strain design for the production of chemicals by fermentation," said Soucaille. Since its inception, the company has already developed validated predictive models for the central metabolism of bacteria including Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium glutamicum, as well as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
"Development of new cell factories involves rationally designing any non-natural metabolic pathway, implementing it into the most suitable host microorganism, analysing, modelling and understanding the cell's metabolic regulation and translating all this into a bioprocess that delivers significant economic advantage over existing chemical processes," said METabolic EXplorer.
Despite its youth, METabolic EXplorer has already secured a contract with Degussa on amino acid fermentation processes and with Limagrain subsidiary Biogemma for the characterisation of plant secondary metabolism and selection of seeds with an improved nutritional content. The firm has raised around €8 million to date, including €6 million from private financing round in 2002, and currently has three processes in development in its research pipeline.