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12:00 AM
Oct 18, 2004
 |  BioCentury  |  Tools & Techniques

Polyketide engineer

Polyketides have been a rich source of marketed drugs. There is a significant opportunity for polyketides with improved drug-like properties, but polyketide optimization has been limited by conventional methods because of their complex structure. Biotica Technology Ltd. says its ability to genetically engineer polyketide-producing bacteria will allow it to produce drug-like analogs of polyketides such as rapamycin.

"Manipulation of polyketides is very difficult to do using standard chemistry because the molecules are quite big and usually highly functionalized," according to Chairman Michael Hayes. "Stereochemistry is important as well. It's very difficult to get correct stereochemistry using normal chemical methodologies."

To make its analogs, Biotica (Cambridge, U.K.) genetically engineers polyketide synthase (PKS) enzymes in actinomycete bacteria, where PKSs occur as modular multienzymes....

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