Peptide chemistry goes green: The Clean Peptide Technology
TypeStartup or self-employed
FoundersSascha Knauer, Christina Uth, Harald Kolmar
Headquarters64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Sulfotools has developed a sustainable, cost-efficient process for chemical peptide production, the Clean Peptide Technology. Peptides are active biomolecules that are applied in a broad range of products, e.g. therapeutics for cancer therapy, cosmetics, especially skin-care products or food supplements. The largest part of marketed synthetic peptides are synthesized chemically via the so-called solid-phase peptide synthesis (state of the art), for which R. B. Merrifield was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1984. For that process, each year the industry consumes tens of thousand tons hazardous, expensive organic solvents, the use of which is associated with significant health and environmental risks. The most common organic solvent used, dimethylformamide (DMF), is toxic and teratogenic and classified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) by the European Chemicals Directive REACH.
The basis of our proprietary Clean Peptide Technology (CPT) are novel water-soluble building blocks for chemical peptide synthesis. The technological principle is based on state of the art process. However, the application of our new water-soluble building blocks enables users to substitute environmentally harmful organic solvents completely with water, allowing for cost savings of up to 50%. Additionally, users can benefit from marketing advantages of an ecological, sustainable process, as well as from the reduction of health risks for employees. Furthermore, due to our real-time monitoring of the reaction progress a resource-conserving use of reagents is possible. The CPT also includes an efficient purification concept, which can already be applied to the state of the art process and a simple wastewater treatment option leading to the reduction of hazardous waste and CO2 emissions. The proof of principle of the CPT was validated at laboratory scale and the commercial proof of principle demonstrated with successful water-based peptide syntheses for renowned industrial customers. The water-solubility enhancing properties of our building blocks are also interesting for other fields of application e.g. organic synthesis. Currently, the team is working on the scale-up and the transfer to other fields of application to expand it into a technology platform.