Xinteza, a biosynthesis technology company, said it has discovered a new catalytic enzyme, capable of solving one of the major bottlenecks that has so far limited the design of sustainable and cost-efficient cannabinoid biosynthesis production systems, in breakthrough research led by Prof. Asaph Aharoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
As reported previously, Xinteza has recently unveiled discoveries for a patent-pending whole new non-cannabis source of cannabinoid biosynthesis related genes and enzymes. This newly discovered gene pool includes a novel prenyl-transferase enzyme, featuring superior kinetics and improved flexibility in introduction into micro-organism-based expression systems.
The prenylation stage in cannabinoid biosynthesis is the last and major step in the formation of CBGA, the "mother" molecule of most other known cannabinoids such as THCA, CBDA and CBCA, however the original enzyme used by the Cannabis Sativa plant loses a substantial amount of its activity when introduced into yeast and bacteria expression systems. Several alternative genes have been suggested over the years by various research groups to bypass this prenylation roadblock, but mostly suffered from severe usability deficiencies, such as impaired chemical kinetics or freedom-to-operate issues.
The new prenyl-transferase enzyme PT-X introduced by Xinteza solves this severe bottleneck by offering improved catalytic activity, in the range of 5-fold better than the original Cannabis Sativa enzyme, as well as high compatibility for introduction into micro-organism-based cannabinoid biosynthesis industrial production systems.
Xinteza is operating in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the Plant Metabolomics lab headed by Prof. Asaph Aharoni, and based on a license by Yeda, the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute.
"As we expand our IP's commercialization and collaboration activity, we are highly motivated by this pivotal discovery of such a key novel enzyme. The flexibility and efficiency of PT-X have the potential to dramatically improve the cost to efficacy ratio of current cannabinoid biosynthesis production, due to its significant advantages over existing prenyl- transferase solutions" said Alon Gal, Xinteza's CEO. "We continue to optimize commercial-scale processes of cannabinoid biosynthesis with the most sophisticated proprietary cannabinoid producing genes and enzymes from our growing portfolio", Gal added.
"This enzyme's discovery which is an important link in the wider chain of discoveries in the quest for rare and new cannabinoid active ingredients with potential novel pharmacological utilities," said Prof. Asaph Aharoni, Xinteza's Scientific Co-Founder and Head of the Weizmann Institute of Science Plant Metabolomics Lab and of the Institute's Plant and Environmental Sciences Department. "Moreover, this is part of a whole alternative non-Cannabaceae production system that is significantly more amenable than cannabis to genetic engineering and cellular transformation, allowing higher flexibility in critical cannabinoid biosynthesis enhancements and optimizations," added Prof. Aharoni.